The Grenfell Tower Fire

Quake42

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The problem with the situation we have where bureaucracy has replaced common sense is that people end up following the rules unthinkingly, or in other cases are afraid to react to an atypical situation in case they go against some protocol and they get blamed.

Rules can never cater for unprecedented events, and that's when you need someone on the ground who can react. A Red Adair type.
Indeed. Not unique to this disaster of course but with catastrophic results in this case. You see smaller scale examples every day though - people blindly following a checklist and seemingly unable to deviate from it even when it’s clear it’s not working.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The next phase of the Grenfell enquiry starting today is the critical one, focusing on how the fire started and how it spread so quickly.
Over 50 firefighters have been called to give evidence but I cannot see any reference to Behailu Kebede, the Ethiopian occupant of Flat 16, where the fire started. Surely his testimony and that of the neighbour he spoke to and alerted regarding the fire, would be absolutely critical to the investigation?
Furthermore, I wonder if the Hotpoint megacorporation will be sweating a bit, as they have quite a bit of previous when it comes to spontaneously combusting appliances.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...-of-serious-safety-breaches-at-grenfell-tower
 
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The next phase of the Grenfell enquiry starting today is the critical one, focusing on how the fire started and how it spread so quickly.
Over 50 firefighters have been called to give evidence but I cannot see any reference to Behailu Kebede, the Ethiopian occupant of Flat 16, where the fire started. Surely his testimony and that of the neighbour he spoke to and alerted regarding the fire, would be absolutely critical to the investigation?
Furthermore, I wonder if the Hotpoint megacorporation will be sweating a bit, as they have quite a bit of previous when it comes to spontaneously combusting appliances.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...-of-serious-safety-breaches-at-grenfell-tower
I think Kebede's testimony would be of use to the tribunal but again it has to be stressed that he played no part in choosing the material which was used to clad the building nor did he authorise the work practices of the contractors who fitted it. There are many flat fires which do not result in entire tower blocks going up in flames or mass deaths.

It would be a mistake, imho, to centre the tribunals investigation on the head of one person.

Hotpoint may well be sweating though.
 
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Some important points raised here:

Prof Niamh Nic Daeid's report stated that the fire began in the south-east corner of the kitchen in flat 16 on the fourth floor of the tower but there was "insufficient" evidence to determine the exact cause.

She said the "cause of the fire remains undetermined" but the origin was more than likely around a fridge-freezer in the flat.

The report quoted the first firefighter to enter the flat, Daniel Brown, who said: "I walked towards the fridge to inspect it... immediately I noticed little pieces of hot embers/debris falling outside what I could now see was a window that had completely given way leaving a hole in the wall."

The experts' reports also highlighted:

  • A "number of non-compliances" in relation to fire safety signifying a culture of non-compliance at Grenfell Tower
  • The lifts failed to perform effectively, hindering the transportation of firefighting equipment and creating an "unnecessary risk" to residents who could not use it to escape
  • The fire service had to pump its own water into Grenfell Tower - the building's "dry fire main" system was "non-compliant" with guidance at the time of construction and is "non-compliant with current standards"
  • The smoke control system did not operate correctly, reducing the ability to vent smoke from the lobbies on each floor of Grenfell Tower which could have improved both escape and firefighting conditions
  • Existing building guidelines and tests allow "obvious dangers" to be incorporated into cladding systems routinely

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-44351567
 

Quake42

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The inquiry has already highlighted that the “stay put” advice ceased to be appropriate once the fire had spread beyond the one flat.

I’d recommend the LRB article I linked above. It’s a difficult read but worthwhile.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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All possible. It did seem odd that he left with a packed bag though. I had a small fire in my kitchen last year and my reaction was to put it out. If that had proved impossible I would have shut the door on it, left the house and called the fire brigade. I wouldn’t have spent time packing luggage.

Perhaps this will all come out in the inquiry. We’ll see.
Agreed. Were there fire extinguishers available in the corridor? After Kebede alerted a neighbour, she reported the fire as still small at that stage. It does seem surprising if Kebede packed a suitcase instead of tackling the fire. Hope these queries will all be addressed.

As for the other point made above that it is mainly Hotpoint/ Indesit /whirlpool tumble dryers that spontaneously combust, the Hotpoint Quadrio fridge-freezer appeared on Watchdog for exactly that reason. I was concerned because we own one. Hotpoint sent someone to relocate the mains lead which goes down through the left hand door.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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"It would be a mistake, imho, to centre the tribunals investigation on the head of one person."

No one's suggesting that. I've already stated that I expect the culpability will be spread pretty wide.
Surely though, establishing how the fire started is a pretty fundamental goal of the enquiry and I doubt anyone knows more about that than Kebede.
 
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"It would be a mistake, imho, to centre the tribunals investigation on the head of one person."

No one's suggesting that. I've already stated that I expect the culpability will be spread pretty wide.
Surely though, establishing how the fire started is a pretty fundamental goal of the enquiry and I doubt anyone knows more about that than Kebede.
Indeed but an eyewitness account alone won't necessarily establish where the fire started, rather where that person first noted the fire. Forensic tests are still necessary to actually confirm the origin point of the fire.

As was stated above:

"Prof Niamh Nic Daeid's report stated that the fire began in the south-east corner of the kitchen in flat 16 on the fourth floor of the tower but there was "insufficient" evidence to determine the exact cause.

She said the "cause of the fire remains undetermined" but the origin was more than likely around a fridge-freezer in the flat."
 

George_millett

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"It would be a mistake, imho, to centre the tribunals investigation on the head of one person."

No one's suggesting that. I've already stated that I expect the culpability will be spread pretty wide.
Surely though, establishing how the fire started is a pretty fundamental goal of the enquiry and I doubt anyone knows more about that than Kebede.
Reading the article the Guardian have on the inquiry it already looks as though they have the recording of the 999 call he made to the Fire Brigade where he says that he saw smoke in the area of the Fridge Freezer.

Other than that is there really that much more that he can provide to the investigation?
 

Quake42

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Reading the article the Guardian have on the inquiry it already looks as though they have the recording of the 999 call he made to the Fire Brigade where he says that he saw smoke in the area of the Fridge Freezer.

Other than that is there really that much more that he can provide to the investigation?
It would be interesting to learn why he packed a bag before leaving the scene and why he returned immediately to Ethiopia.
 

George_millett

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It would be interesting to learn why he packed a bag before leaving the scene and why he returned immediately to Ethiopia.
Whilst it might be interesting, how is it information relevant to the cause of the fire and how it spread.

Its the old adage that we should not confuse the public is interested in something with it being in the public interest that it is known.

There is going to be limited time for the enquiry if it is going to come up with any recommendations for new or existing buildings and to help prevent any disasters in the future. I'd much rather they spoke to the people that actually had some input on the decisions made either on the day or when the contracts actually were put out to tender.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Reading the article the Guardian have on the inquiry it already looks as though they have the recording of the 999 call he made to the Fire Brigade where he says that he saw smoke in the area of the Fridge Freezer.

Other than that is there really that much more that he can provide to the investigation?
Given the seriousness of the tragedy, surely all the loose ends and inconsistent early reports need to be explained?
Kebede claimed he was woken by the alarm, but his neighbour said she heard no alarm. She also says the fire was still small when she looked through his door, so why didn't he tackle it before it could spread? Were fire extinguishers available and had Kebede really packed a suitcase? That last point, if indeed true, seems mighty odd.
 
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Given the seriousness of the tragedy, surely all the loose ends and inconsistent early reports need to be explained?
Kebede claimed he was woken by the alarm, but his neighbour said she heard no alarm. She also says the fire was still small when she looked through his door, so why didn't he tackle it before it could spread? Were fire extinguishers available and had Kebede really packed a suitcase? That last point, if indeed true, seems mighty odd.
It would be all too easy to blame a Johnny Foreigner for the fire but that wouldn't resolve the underlying issue of the cladding, shoddy installation, lifts not working, dry riser in the building non-compliant, smoke detector system not working properly.

Any of us might fail to tackle a fire in the heat of the moment if we weren't trained to do so or were panicky.

Wouldn't be at all unusual for an illegal immigrant to have a packed suitcase ready.

If anyone believes that Kebede deliberately started the fire they should say so and pass the methodology they used to come to this conclusion on to the police.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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It would be all too easy to blame a Johnny Foreigner for the fire but that wouldn't resolve the underlying issue of the cladding, shoddy installation, lifts not working, dry riser in the building non-compliant, smoke detector system not working properly.

Any of us might fail to tackle a fire in the heat of the moment if we weren't trained to do so or were panicky.

Wouldn't be at all unusual for an illegal immigrant to have a packed suitcase ready.

If anyone believes that Kebede deliberately started the fire they should say so and pass the methodology they used to come to this conclusion on to the police.
Didn't know Kebede was an illegal immigrant.
Just hope the enquiry can answer all the questions.
Not sure it's helpful using silly, emotive terms like "Johnny foreigner" though.
 
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Didn't know Kebede was an illegal immigrant.
Just hope the enquiry can answer all the questions.
Not sure it's helpful using silly, emotive terms like "Johnny foreigner" though.
I was just emphasising how some people would see him, not me.

There is a history of blaming "the other" (especially Jews) for all sorts of pestilences and fires.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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I was just emphasising how some people would see him, not me.

There is a history of blaming "the other" (especially Jews) for all sorts of pestilences and fires.
You seemed to be floating the meme that his somewhat strange actions - packing a suitcase instead of fighting what was initially a small fire, could be related to his illegal status.
I've no idea if that was a factor, but it is just one of the huge number of questions that need answering.
Listening to the news just now, it looks like the next couple of days of the enquiry will focus on the catastrophic instructions given to people to stay in their flats, rather than evacuate the building.
 
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You seemed to be floating the meme that his somewhat strange actions - packing a suitcase instead of fighting what was initially a small fire, could be related to his illegal status.
I've no idea if that was a factor, but it is just one of the huge number of questions that need answering.
Listening to the news just now, it looks like the next couple of days of the enquiry will focus on the catastrophic instructions given to people to stay in their flats, rather than evacuate the building.
I don't think there's anything strange about an ordinary person fleeing a fire instead of trying to put it out.

I'm not the one who keeps mentioning/floating the meme that he was from Ethiopia and had returned home and that there is something odd about this.

The obsession with the fact that a foreigner was in the flat where the fire started says a lot about how the tendency to blame "the other" for any disasters is still alive and well. Just the blame is now put on more recent immigrants.
 

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blessmycottonsocks

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The focus of the enquiry is now on the instructions not to evacuate the building.
This got me thinking about fire instructions elsewhere.
Offices and hotels have mandatory fire points, with at least two types of fire extinguisher and instructions to follow in case of fire. The instructions at my work for example state that everyone has responsibility in case of a fire and to take the following action:

1) On discovering a fire, sound the alarm and dial 999.

2) Tackle the blaze, if it is safe for you to do so.

3) Leave all personal belongings and move to the evacuation point as quickly as possible. Follow any instructions given by fire marshalls.

Were there similar fire points at Grenfell and what did the instructions state? Were they ignored?
 

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Were there similar fire points at Grenfell and what did the instructions state? Were they ignored?
People were previously instructed to stay in their homes and await rescue in case of fire. Some survivors have described being physically obstructed by fire crews when they tried to get out. This was because of a belief that fire would not spread easily between the flats; the possibility of the outside cladding acting like a chimney and setting fire to upper parts of the building hadn't been taken into account.

Some residents didn't like the cladding and had campaigned against it. They were right.
 
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I could find no evidence to support Ramonmercado's suggestion that Kebede was an illegal immigrant either.
Maybe confusing Kebede with these two miscreants, who fraudulently claimed to be Grenfell survivors so they could rake in £125,000:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-44303823
I can't find the reference to him being an illegal immigrant either, perhaps I did conflate these cases.

But he did phone 999 and alert his neighbours to the fire, hardly the actions of an arsonist. If the police thought he was a suspect then surely they would have said so by now. Even the Mail, Sun and Star say that his actions saved lives.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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"Some survivors have described being physically obstructed by fire crews when they tried to get out. "

That is absolutely horrible. As I suspect, the enquiry is likely to spread the culpability pretty wide and it looks like the catalogue of failures will include some fire-fighters too.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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I can't find the reference to him being an illegal immigrant either, perhaps I did conflate these cases.

But he did phone 999 and alert his neighbours to the fire, hardly the actions of an arsonist. If the police thought he was a suspect then surely they would have said so by now. Even the Mail, Sun and Star say that his actions saved lives.
Who's calling Kebede an arsonist?

I listened to the 999 call he made, and the genuine urgency there is obvious. I also note that he describes himself as 'haunted' "devastated" and 'blames himself" for the tragedy and that he is likely to be summoned to give evidence to the enquiry later this year.
Questions do need to be asked though, including whether fire extinguishers were available to the occupants and could/should he have tackled the blaze when it was still small.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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One further thought. If the early reports on the BBC and in the Metro and Sun and then in numerous Tweets, that Kebede's neighbour claimed that he had packed a suitcase, were not true, the source of such potentially malicious misinformation needs to be identified.
 
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Who's calling Kebede an arsonist?

I listened to the 999 call he made, and the genuine urgency there is obvious. I also note that he describes himself as 'haunted' "devastated" and 'blames himself" for the tragedy and that he is likely to be summoned to give evidence to the enquiry later this year.
Questions do need to be asked though, including whether fire extinguishers were available to the occupants and could/should he have tackled the blaze when it was still small.
The obsession on the part of some people here in mentioning Kebede whenever a report comes out blaming wider issues imho is at the very least an implication that he was responsible for setting the fire..

There is no onus on any untrained person to fight a fire. Kebede phoned the emergency services and alerted his neighbours.

Any normal person would be devastated and haunted and blame themselves if a fire which started in their flat led to mass casualties. One would have to be a psychopath not to have those feelings. That he does have such feelings is not a reason to be suspicious about him.
 
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One further thought. If the early reports on the BBC and in the Metro and Sun and then in numerous Tweets, that Kebede's neighbour claimed that he had packed a suitcase, were not true, the source of such potentially malicious misinformation needs to be identified.
Having a packed suitcase might be suspicious in isolation. But given the fact that Kebede phoned the emergency services and alerted his neighbours it can be seen in a different light. Surely if Kebede deliberately set the fire then he would just have fled?

I cannot see why some here see something suspicious in Kebede's actions unless they believe he set the fire.
 

Quake42

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People were previously instructed to stay in their homes and await rescue in case of fire. Some survivors have described being physically obstructed by fire crews when they tried to get out. This was because of a belief that fire would not spread easily between the flats; the possibility of the outside cladding acting like a chimney and setting fire to upper parts of the building hadn't been taken into account.
.
Fine in theory but the moment it became clear that the fire was not contained and was instead engulfing the exterior of the building, the evacuation order should have been given. Had it been we may have avoided casualties full stop.

As I said earlier, it seems that people stuck rigidly to a protocol even when it was clear that reality had proved the theory quite wrong in this case. Extraordinary levels of groupthink.
 
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blessmycottonsocks

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Just reading the live commentary from The Guardian.
Surprisingly, London Fire Brigade (LFB) has defended its instruction to residents to stay put. The LFB spokesman claimed evacuation was unfeasible due to the tower being built with only one stairwell and no method of communicating instructions to each flat.
I can understand LFB covering their own backsides, but this makes it sound as if towers like Grenfell have been potential deathtraps ever since they were built in the 60s and 70s.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...rvivors-opening-statements-begin-live-updates
 
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