The Grenfell Tower Fire

Quake42

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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
Sounds like hasty arse covering to me I have to say. The practicalities highlighted in the LFB statement may very well be true but the reality is that Grenfell residents were calling 999 and being told to stay in their flats for hours after the fire had spread. An evacuation attempt would have saved many lives.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Sounds like hasty arse covering to me I have to say. The practicalities highlighted in the LFB statement may very well be true but the reality is that Grenfell residents were calling 999 and being told to stay in their flats for hours after the fire had spread. An evacuation attempt would have saved many lives.
Good point.
Further down in The Guardian transcript, it was stated that if LFB had told residents to evacuate in the hour or so following the initial 999 calls, there may have been no casualties at all.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Some people have an Emergency Exit bag packed because they like to be prepared.
In New Zealand a lot people who live around Wellington or Christchurch have a "grab bag" in case of earthquake. It's basically a survival bag the size of a pencil case that includes a enough water to last a couple of days, torch, whistle. a tinfoil blanket, and other stuff.

I'f I'd sought asylum I expect I'd have a small kit in case things started going tits up no matter where I ended up. Brits since the end of the cold war have completely forgotten about this aspect of life.


The fire brigades "stay and we'll come to you" stance is fairly normal practice if they know a structure is dodgy.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Good point.
Further down in The Guardian transcript, it was stated that if LFB had told residents to evacuate in the hour or so following the initial 999 calls, there may have been no casualties at all.

It's always a good thing to point the finger at the poor sods who are risking their lives trying to rescue people rather than the people who owned the building.
 

Dr_Baltar

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It's always a good thing to point the finger at the poor sods who are risking their lives trying to rescue people rather than the people who owned the building.
Just to play devil's advocate, you could say that just because the fire brigade risk their lives every day doesn't mean they should be absolved of blame, if indeed that is where some of the blame lies. It does sound as though their procedures might need reconsidering.
 

Quake42

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It's always a good thing to point the finger at the poor sods who are risking their lives trying to rescue people rather than the people who owned the building.
It’s evident that the advice to “stay put” was incorrect in this instance. It’s right for the inquiry to consider all factors which led to the disaster.

Disasters very often involve multiple points of failure and blame is rarely down to one cause. As I said earlier in the thread if the inquiry looks thoroughly at what happened it’s likely to upset a lot of people / organisations and the LFB should not get a free pass because they spend their time rescuing people.

I’d again recommend the London Review of Books article I linked above.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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It's always a good thing to point the finger at the poor sods who are risking their lives trying to rescue people rather than the people who owned the building.
Those "poor sods" were presumably following the instructions that were given them. So I don't see the enquiry is pointing fingers here but ensuring that, with hindsight, catastrophic instructions are not repeated.
The priority has to be to ensure another Grenfell never happens.
 

Dr_Baltar

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Just a quick snippet from that Guardian link:

Rajiv Menon QC, representing Behailu Kebede, in whose flat the fire started, begins by saying that Kebede had been living in flat 16 for 25 years when he was woken by a fire alarm.

He acted quickly and banged on bed room doors of his neighbours on the fourth shouting “fire fire”.

All he had on him were his clothes and phone. He left without his shoes or wallet or car keys.

It was “nasty lie” to falsely report that Kebede packed a suitcase before leaving, Menon said.
 
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Just a quick snippet from that Guardian link:

Rajiv Menon QC, representing Behailu Kebede, in whose flat the fire started, begins by saying that Kebede had been living in flat 16 for 25 years when he was woken by a fire alarm.

He acted quickly and banged on bed room doors of his neighbours on the fourth shouting “fire fire”.

All he had on him were his clothes and phone. He left without his shoes or wallet or car keys.

It was “nasty lie” to falsely report that Kebede packed a suitcase before leaving, Menon said.
I doubt if this will have any effect on those who want to pin the blame for the fire on an immigrant. But I may be wrong, perhaps they will now focus their attention on the Leader of Kensington Council.
 
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Just a quick snippet from that Guardian link:

Rajiv Menon QC, representing Behailu Kebede, in whose flat the fire started, begins by saying that Kebede had been living in flat 16 for 25 years when he was woken by a fire alarm.

He acted quickly and banged on bed room doors of his neighbours on the fourth shouting “fire fire”.

All he had on him were his clothes and phone. He left without his shoes or wallet or car keys.

It was “nasty lie” to falsely report that Kebede packed a suitcase before leaving, Menon said.

Another interesting snippet:

Kebede did not hesitate in contacting the police on the night of the fire, Menon says.

He has cooperated fully with the police as a witness. He is not a criminal suspect, Kebede lawyer.

After the fire, Kebede was subjected to a campaign of harassment by the media. He and his friends were offered cash for their stories. He refused.

The media intrusion has had serious consequences for Kebede and his family. The police suggested witness protection. He felt “terrified” by the prospect of giving oral evidence to the inquiry, Menon said.

There has been a renewed interest in Kebede since his emergency call was played to the inquiry, Menon says. He appealed to the media to leave Kebede alone.

Kebede bought the Hotpoint fridge freezer new. It had not been repaired or tampered with. The fire was accidental and Kebede bears no responsibility for the fire or its spread, Menon says.

He points out that each year there are 300 fires involving fridges or freezers.

The cause or origin of the fire is not the key question, the issue is how it spread so quickly, Menon says.

 

Cochise

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I doubt if this will have any effect on those who want to pin the blame for the fire on an immigrant. But I may be wrong, perhaps they will now focus their attention on the Leader of Kensington Council.
I believe the conditions for the fire to become a disaster were created over a substantial period of time, possibly as much as 15 years. So there won't be a single person to blame.
 
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I believe the conditions for the fire to become a disaster were created over a substantial period of time, possibly as much as 15 years. So there won't be a single person to blame.
Indeed. But seeing as so much opprobrium has been heaped on Mr Kebede on this thread, including demands to know why he didn't fight the fire, I would hope that posters here would accept that some responsibility lies with the the Council Leader.
 

Cochise

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Indeed. But seeing as so much opprobrium has been heaped on Mr Kebede on this thread, including demands to know why he didn't fight the fire, I would hope that posters here would accept that some responsibility lies with the the Council Leader.

Did Mr Kebede call 999? That wasn't clear. If the fire was sufficiently bad he had to leave his flat he surely should have done. But yes, I wondered myself if he had been up to something illegal that might have caused the fire - distilling home made booze or some such - but it appears not to be the case.

Not that I would have blamed him for the fire spreading even if that had been the case - he like most of the rest of us wouldn't have imagined the consequences.

As regards the council leader, well, maybe. I'd have to make a timeline to be sure, but didn't the cladding get installed before his time? I'd have thought whoever dealt with / ignored the complaints about the tower would be the only one in the current council responsible.

I am still of the opinion that the key problem was poorly drafted regulations and lax inspection, but I don't even know who is responsible for carrying out such inspections. Perhaps that is part of the problem as well - responsibility so divided no-one really knows who should have had the final say.

It seems particularly unfortunate that no-one knew about the concrete dry rooms which apparently survived the fire intact, but then of course that's hindsight - the fire might have been even worse.

Edit: To avoid misunderstanding, when I mentioned the 999 call above I had missed that it had already been entered in evidence - I was going by his lawyer's speech without realising the call was already on record.
 
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George_millett

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It’s evident that the advice to “stay put” was incorrect in this instance. It’s right for the inquiry to consider all factors which led to the disaster.
Given some of the other things we have found out about this disaster I am not sure that getting people out would have meant that much difference.

From some of the reporting I have seen the usual tools that Fire Fighters use in tackling this sorts of fires was not working so there was only one stairwell available. If they were evacuating the building they would have to be bringing people out down the same set of stairs that the Fire Brigade are going to be attempting get people and equipment up.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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"each year there are 300 fires involving fridges or freezers."

Not to mention dodgy tumble dryers.
About time the spotlight focused on Hotpoint.

I also take the point that some issues here go back a long time - like who designed a tower block with only one possible evacuation stairwell?
 

George_millett

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Did Mr Kebede call 999? That wasn't clear. If the fire was sufficiently bad he had to leave his flat he surely should have done. But yes, I wondered myself if he had been up to something illegal that might have caused the fire - distilling home made booze or some such - but it appears not to be the case.
How is it unclear whether he called 999 or not? They have already have a record of the call entered into evidence of the enquiry.
 

Cochise

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How is it unclear whether he called 999 or not? They have already have a record of the call entered into evidence of the enquiry.
Sorry, must have missed that. It presumably was earlier in the evidence. As I say, I wouldn't blame the guy for the tragedy anyway. There are bound to be fires from time to time, it wasn't his fault that it failed to be contained within his flat.

My suggestion much earlier in the discussion that it might have been because he was doing something illegal that he legged it was counter to the idea that if he had run off he must therefore be a terrorist. I mean, he might have been a minor dope dealer or something.
 
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Cochise

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"each year there are 300 fires involving fridges or freezers."

Not to mention dodgy tumble dryers.
About time the spotlight focused on Hotpoint.

I also take the point that some issues here go back a long time - like who designed a tower block with only one possible evacuation stairwell?
Most of them are like that. My Gran lived in three different tower blocks all with only one staircase.
 
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Did Mr Kebede call 999? That wasn't clear. If the fire was sufficiently bad he had to leave his flat he surely should have done. But yes, I wondered myself if he had been up to something illegal that might have caused the fire - distilling home made booze or some such - but it appears not to be the case.

e.
It is very clear that Mr Kebede phoned 999, recordings of it have been played on tv. Please read the posts above. He is not the subject of any police enquiry and it is really bad form at this stage to suggest he might have been doing something illegal.
 
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"each year there are 300 fires involving fridges or freezers."

Not to mention dodgy tumble dryers.
About time the spotlight focused on Hotpoint.

I also take the point that some issues here go back a long time - like who designed a tower block with only one possible evacuation stairwell?
But given all the attention you focused on Mr Kebede do you think it would be appropriate to at least look at the possibility that some of the blame might lie with the Leader of the Council during the period that it was decided to add this cladding to the Tower?
 

Yithian

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Right, Mr Kebede did phone 999 and any speculation that he was acting illegally is mere speculation.
Thoughts voiced, but we shouldn't linger on this point.
 
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Sorry, must have missed that. It presumably was earlier in the evidence. As I say, I wouldn't blame the guy for the tragedy anyway. There are bound to be fires from time to time, it wasn't his fault that it failed to be contained within his flat.

My suggestion much earlier in the discussion that it might have been because he was doing something illegal that he legged it was counter to the idea that if he had run off he must therefore be a terrorist. I mean, he might have been a minor dope dealer or something.
Maybe it would be a good idea not to suggest that you thought Mr Kebede might have been a drug dealer.

Seeing as it has been made clear that Mr Kebede is not being investigated by the police such comments are potentially libelous and could cause problems for Denis the Mags publishers.
 
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Right, Mr Kebede did phone 999 and any speculation that he was acting illegally is mere speculation.
Thoughts voiced, but we shouldn't linger on this point.
It's been made clear that he isn't being investigated by the police so it's more than just speculation, it's potentially libel. We'll see what his solicitors think.
 

Yithian

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It's been made clear that he isn't being investigated by the police so it's more than just speculation, it's potentially libel. We'll see what his solicitors think.
Assuming you don't intend to contact them, I think we'll be fine if we do not linger on the point.
 

Yithian

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Well you don't think theres anything wrong with the comments so why shouldn't I contact them?
Because doing so would bring trouble to this message-board and community.

A chunk of this thread is filled with speculation about events that are--at this stage--imperfectly known.

Would you have me remove it all until we have an official judgment? I haven't re-read it, but if my recollection is correct there was a lot of bile early on about the actions of the local council, some of which--it has transpired--was ill-informed.

I'll refer the matter to Stu at once, but if you and others would prefer I lock the thread and end the discussion, I am happy to do so.
 
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Because doing so would bring trouble to this message-board and community.

A chunk of this thread is filled with speculation about events that are--at this stage--imperfectly known.

Would you have me remove it all until we have an official judgment. I haven't re-read it, but if my recollection is correct there was a lot of bile early on about the actions of the local council, some of which--it has transpired--was ill-informed.

I'll refer the matter to Stu at once, but if you and others would prefer I lock the thread and end the discussion, I can do so.
I don't think the Grenfell Tower fire is particularly Fortean but obviously some see conspiracies.

Imho it's not good enough to say what has been posted about Mr Kebede is just speculation. It is now clear that he is not the subject of a police investigation.

I haven't seen any reports which suggest the Council have been cleared of responsibility for the manner in which the fire spread.

I don't wish to cause any problems for the FTMB. You could just delete comments which continue to impugn Mr Kebede's character and reputation.
 

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Maybe it would be a good idea not to suggest that you thought Mr Kebede might have been a drug dealer.

Seeing as it has been made clear that Mr Kebede is not being investigated by the police such comments are potentially libelous and could cause problems for Denis the Mags publishers.
I think you have misunderstood my posts. Originally people were accusing him (and at the time I didn't know who 'him' was) of being a terrorist who deliberately set the fire and left with suitcases packed with goodness knows what. I was pointing out (way back up the conversation) that, EVEN IF HE HAD run away, that there were many far less serious reasons why he might not want to talk to the authorities without being the murderer of 70-odd people. It transpired that he didn't run away at all, so there was no such reason.

As far as the 999 call is concerned, I had simply missed that it had already been entered in evidence. Mea culpa.

You know, typing replies on here is an imperfect way to communicate - it might be a good idea to ask people what they mean before getting excited.
 

Quake42

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Plenty of speculation on many threads, not least the Madeleine McCann one. No sense in getting particularly exercise about this particular one I don’t think.

Yet again, please do read the LRB article I linked above. It deals with most of the issues discussed here: the fridge, the cladding, the council, the Fire Brigade, the actions of government and opposition in the days and weeks after the disaster, partisan and ill-informed media, the conspiracy theories of local activists etc etc. Suffice to say that not many people covered themselves in glory although in the view of the author the council may be more sinned against than sinning.
 
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