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Tag: London Fire

London tower blocks evacuated as 34 buildings fail fire tests

London Block Evacuation

By Kate Holton and Jamillah Knowles | LONDON

LONDON Britain said 34 high-rise apartment blocks had failed fire safety checks carried out after the deadly Grenfell Tower blaze, including several in north London where residents were forced to evacuate amid chaotic scenes.

British officials have conducted tests on some 600 high-rise buildings across England after fire ravaged the Grenfell social tower block in west London on June 14, killing at least 79 people in the capital’s most deadly blaze since World War Two.

The Department for Communities said 34 apartment blocks had failed tests in 17 parts of the country, from London in the southeast to Manchester in the north and Plymouth on the southwest coast.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who was forced to apologize for the government’s initial slow response to the tragedy, said the authorities were now racing to establish what needed to be done.

“In some cases it’s possible to take mitigating action,” she told Sky news. “In others it’s been necessary for people to move out on a temporary basis and that is what happened in Camden last night.”

Some 4,000 residents of the Chalcots Estate in Camden, north London, were told to vacate their apartments on Friday after the Fire Brigade ruled that their blocks were unsafe.

Emerging into the streets on a hot night, residents clutched children, pets and small amounts of clothing and food to try to find a bed in a local hotel or with family or friends. Many were directed to inflatable beds laid out on the floor of the local sports hall.

“I know it’s difficult but Grenfell changes everything,” Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, said in a statement. “I don’t believe we can take any risks with our residents’ safety.”

May said the local authority would be given all the means necessary to make sure people had somewhere to stay.

Residents complained of first hearing about the evacuation from the media and getting very short notice to leave from city officials going door-to-door. Not all residents agreed to go, as they felt the evacuation was an over-reaction.

PUBLIC ANGER

“It was farcical communication,” 21-year-old Daniel Tackaberry told Reuters outside a nearby sports center where the local council had laid out air beds. “You don’t get everyone to leave this quickly.”

Several local councils said they were removing cladding from the facades of buildings that had failed the tests. In Camden, however, the London Fire Brigade found a number of faults, including concern about cladding, faulty fire doors and holes in compartment walls that could help a fire to spread.

Gould, the Camden council’s leader, said it would take up to four weeks to repair the blocks that were evacuated.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said the government was working with local authorities and fire services to address any problems that had been found.

“We are now rapidly identifying buildings of concern: samples are being tested very quickly; fire inspectors are checking the safety of the buildings as a whole; and we have issued interim safety guidance,” he said.

Police investigating the cause of the 24-story Grenfell Tower blaze have said the fire started in a fridge but spread rapidly due to external cladding on the building, trapping residents in their beds as they slept.

The cladding has since failed all safety checks and prompted a nationwide review of the materials used on everything from hospitals to hotels and apartment blocks.

The fire has become a flashpoint for public anger at the record of May’s Conservative Party in government following cuts to local authority budgets designed to lower the national deficit. Grenfell Tower is located in Kensington, one of the richest boroughs in Europe.

Battling to save her position after losing her majority in a June 8 election, May has promised to do everything she can to protect those residents who survived the fire and to improve the quality and safety of public housing in Britain.

British police have said they are considering bringing manslaughter charges over the Grenfell fire.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Mark Heinrich and John Stonestreet

Source:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-fire-idUSKBN19F071

I’m waiting with baited breath to see what the next move is. Can’t help but think of the alleged FEMA camps in the States. Is this how the agenda plays out? Or is my conspiracist brain overthinking things? I realise those buildings need to made safe to live in, but I can’t help seeing the New World Order lurching forwards…

See also:

https://uncensored.co.nz/2017/06/24/34146/

Pride And Prejudice: Grenfell Tower Survivors Rehousing Controversy

Rehousing of Grenfell Tower families in luxury block receives mixed response

While some residents welcome the families to Kensington Row others are less positive with concerns over future property prices

The flats in the Kensington Row

The flats in the Kensington Row development, in Kensington, west London, where some residents affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster are to be re-housed. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Rehousing of Grenfell Tower families in luxury block receives mixed response

While some residents welcome the families to Kensington Row others are less positive with concerns over future property prices.

Two miles south of the charred skeleton of Grenfell Tower is a large complex of sleek new apartments that some of those displaced by last week’s inferno will soon be able to call home.

Kensington Row’s manicured lawns, clipped trees and burbling fountains are a haven from the rumbling traffic of two busy London thoroughfares, and its spacious, air-conditioned foyers a relief from June’s oppressive heatwave.

Four unfinished blocks house the 68 flats purchased by the Corporation of London for families who lost their homes in Grenfell Tower. Workmen had been instructed not to talk to the media, but one said there was now a rush to complete the building work. “It’s a brilliant idea,” he said of the resettlement plan.

Among those exercising dogs and small children, the views were more mixed. “It’s so unfair,” said Maria, who was reading the news in the Evening Standard with two neighbours.

She bought her flat two years ago for a sum she was unwilling to disclose. “We paid a lot of money to live here, and we worked hard for it. Now these people are going to come along, and they won’t even be paying the service charge.”

Nick, who pays £2,500 a month rent for a one-bedroom flat in the complex, also expressed doubts about the plan. “Who are the real tenants of Grenfell Tower?” he asked. “It seems as though a lot of flats there were sublet. Now the people whose names are on the tenancies will get rehoused here, and then they’ll rent the flats out on the private market. And the people who were actually living unofficially in the tower at the time of the fire won’t get rehoused.

“I’m very sad that people have lost their homes, but there are a lot of people here who have bought flats and will now see the values drop. It will degrade things. And it opens up a can of worms in the housing market. AJ, who moved into his £2,500-per-month one bedroom flat less than two months ago, said he was neutral about the plan. “I’m Switzerland,” he announced while walking Enzo, his chow chow.

“I love it here. There are great facilities – a pool, cinema, gym, spa. Porters are on duty 24 hours a day. It’s well built and well maintained. The other day I had a problem with the air conditioning and it was fixed in half an hour.”

He had been horrified at the fire. “It was dreadful, I had friends living there. We gave stuff, and went up and helped for a couple days last week. In my eyes everyone should be equal.”

Waiting to collect children outside the Kensington primary academy, Jaime Paul thought the plan to rehouse Grenfell Tower residents in the complex was a good thing.

“These flats are being wasted. There are so many empty ones,” she said. “People who are worried about the values of their homes are just being selfish.”

In the complex’s marketing suite, a smartly dressed saleswoman declined to give details about the announcement or the facilities available to residents. A concierge directed the Guardian to the complex manager, who insisted the flats where Grenfell Tower residents would be housed were under separate management, although built and owned by the same developers.

Edmond, an Albanian worker who lays parquet floors in the apartments, said the Grenfell Tower rehousing plan would never come to pass. “It’s not going to happen, trust me. Go and have a look at the cars down there,” he said, gesturing at the underground car park as a black Jaguar with a personalised numberplate purred down the ramp to the remote-controlled gates.

“You can write what you like, but trust me, money rules the world. People like me are going to live here? Never.”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/21/rehousing-of-grenfell-tower-families-in-luxury-block-meets-mixed-response

London fire: Muslims awake for Ramadan meal save residents of flaming Grenfell Tower

Personally, I think this is not so much a British 9/11 as a case of corruption by maintenance neglect of an old building. Nevertheless, the correlation with Ramadan observance was a fortunate coincidence (not that this wasn’t catastrophic enough):

Muslim residents of London’s Grenfell Tower, who were awake during the night because they were observing Ramadan, helped save lives after a deadly fire tore through the block, witnesses say.

The 24-storey building in the capital city’s west went up in flames in about 15 minutes in the early hours of Wednesday.  More than 200 firefighters battled the blaze well in to day light, and officials have warned it will take days for them to search the block for survivors or victims.

A local woman told a gathering outside the block that more people would have died if not for the actions of a number of Muslim boys.

The height of the fire early on Wednesday, when hundreds of firefighters spent hours trying to get it under control. ...

The height of the fire early on Wednesday, when hundreds of firefighters spent hours trying to get it under control. There were still people inside the tower at the time.

She said the boys knocked on doors, yelling in an attempt to alert residents in the absence of fire alarms.

READ MORE:
London fire: The ones who are missing
* Woman dropped baby from burning block 
‘They were warned’: Residents call tower disaster in the making
Neighbours heard children screaming for help
London fire: ‘It was a war zone’ 
London fire: Warnings ignored, bad advice given

If it wasn’t for all these young Muslims, young boys round here – coming from mosques … people would have [died]. A lot more people would have [died],” she said.

Firefighters use a riot shield as protection from falling rubble at the 24-storey block.

GETTY IMAGES

Firefighters use a riot shield as protection from falling rubble at the 24-storey block.

“People want to talk about them when they do wrong, and all this sort of thing, when they’re doing bad – but when they’re doing good …

“They were the first people with bags of water, giving to people and helping people – running and telling people.”

During the fasting month of Ramadan, Muslims do not eat during daylight, instead staying up late and getting up early to do so.

A post for one of the many missing residents of Grenfell Tower near apartment building.

REUTERS

A post for one of the many missing residents of Grenfell Tower near apartment building.

Another resident told The Huffington Post UK that young Muslims made the difference for a number of sleeping families, with the blaze breaking out at the west London tower block just after 1.15am.

“Muslim boys saved people’s lives. They ran around knocking on people’s doors,” she said. “Thank God for Ramadan.”

The Huffington Post spoke to Khalid Suleman Ahmed, 20, who moved to the eighth floor of Grenfell Tower not long ago.

Clothing and refreshment are laid out near the fire scene. Many of those who managed to flee the flames took nothing ...

REUTERS

Clothing and refreshment are laid out near the fire scene. Many of those who managed to flee the flames took nothing with them from their houses.

He said he had stayed up to eat before daylight fasting began about 4.45am.

“No fire alarms went off and there were no warning. I was playing PlayStation waiting to eat suhur [the meal that begins the fast] then smelt smoke.

“I got up and looked out of my window and saw the seventh floor smoking,” he said.

Food is distributed near the tower block.

REUTERS

Food is distributed near the tower block.

“I woke my auntie up, then got clothes on and started knocking on neighbours’ doors. Every house opened except two – I saw the other guy later on so only one family unaccounted for. My next door neighbour was fast asleep.

“I would be up this late on a Friday night possibly but never a random midweek night unless it was Ramadan.

“There are a lot of Muslims living there and people choose up to stay up and wait so it was certainly a factor for me and others. It probably did save lives.

Prays are said and candles are lit outside Notting Hill Methodist Church during a vigil for people caught up in the disaster.

GETTY IMAGES

Prays are said and candles are lit outside Notting Hill Methodist Church during a vigil for people caught up in the disaster.

“The whole corridor went black with thick smoke. I didn’t think it was serious at all. Me and my auntie thought it was an isolated incident but we’d just evacuate just to be safe.

“When we went out and were taken by the firemen to a safer place then we saw that it still hadn’t reached our house – 20 minutes or so later our house was gone.

“The firefighters were very quick. They immediately started work.”

 – Sydney Morning Herald

https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/93718367/london-fire-muslims-awake-for-ramadan-meal-save-residents-of-flaming-grenfell-tower

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