The Grenfell Tower Fire

Carse

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#61
I had a nightmare last night about a fire in a block of flats in London. I told my wife about the dream at 08.00am (07.00 British time) this morning. I checked the BBC news app for the first time today at 10.30 and read about this. The cause was different in my dream but I still felt a shiver down my spine when I read the headline. I'll post about it in What did you dream last night?
Oddly enough I had a dream at the weekend (Sunday night I think) where I was trapped in a fiercely burning high rise building, looking down at the ground below and deciding whether to jump or stay and take my chances; I woke up before I reached a decision. I've never been in a high rise block in my life so no idea what prompted it. Then last night while driving to work for nighshift I saw a big column of acrid black smoke from the motorway which set me idly remembering the dream and I was still thinking about it as gazed up at a cluster of tower blocks as I filled my car up at the petrol station near my work in Springburn, Glasgow. It seems every time I'm on nightshift recently there has been some disaster or another - I watched Manchester, London Bridge and now this all unfold live overnight on Sky News which is permanently on the telly at work. What was most shocking for me were the scenes around 03:30 when the whole building was ablaze from bottom to top, with flames visible in almost every window. And behind each of those windows is someone's home. I hope those trapped didn't suffer for long.

This fire is very grim indeed and I am sure the number of deaths will be far higher than in any similar events we've seen in the past due to the large sleeping population of the block at the time of the incident and the speed at which the flames and smoke moved. Things will become even more grim as the search for bodies gets underway and then the block will have to be demolished as there is no chance it will be rebuilt after such a devastating fire. No doubt this terrible event will become a case study for architecture and civil engineering students of the future.
 
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#62
"If Labour had done all of the above what would you be saying?"

That these concrete abominations of the 60s and 70s were thrown up largely under Harold Wilson's watch.
That the very similar Lakanal House fire was in Southwark, which I believe was a Labour council.
That tragedies like this aren't about party politics and could occur wherever such high-density, high-rise buildings exist.

I don't know what the answer to gross overpopulation is, but I doubt that building more death-traps like this can ever be justified.
But if it had been Labour who had actively persecuted residents who made complaints then I think there would be howls from the tories here.

If Labour had voted down legislation, ignored the Fire Protection Association and cancelled reviews of Fire Safety just before the Lakanal House fire then your comparison would be correct

Yes, tragedies happen and aren't necessarily about party politics.

But when one party has done everything it could to impede the improvement of fire safety regulations then that is relevant.
 

Cavynaut

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#64
No doubt this terrible event will become a case study for architecture and civil engineering students of the future.
Just as the Ronan Point collapse did. It's just a terrible shame that lives have to be lost beforehand.
 

Cochise

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#65
Twelve people have died, probably more. Hundreds of people have lost everything. This is like something from the 19th century slums, why the fuck is it happening in 21st century London?

I'm quite upset, to say the least. I can't bear the look on the firefighters' faces, and that poor soul being comforted by Victoria Derbyshire, why the fuck has he, and his community, had to suffer this? "Lessons will be learned" yadda, yadda, yadda. A bit damn late to learn lessons when people are dead, devastated, and destitute.

Sorry, slightly overwrought.
(EDIT: to move an apostrophe; there was, sadly, more than one distraught firefighter.)
One of the reasons we shouldn't jump to conclusions is that what has happened might be due to some new previously undiagnosed hazard, whereupon the fulminations that 'this could have been prevented' look kinda embarrassing.

I'm not saying I believe that, but new safety hazards do crop up and there has to be a first time. One thinks of the series of Comet crashes which opened up a whole new understanding of metal fatigue.

I have nothing but admiration and respect for every fire-fighter - theirs is probably the worst and one of the most important jobs in the world - it takes cold courage and determination way beyond that which I posses. I was in New York on the first evening after 9/11 when the planes had started flying again, (different story) and I have not forgotten the poignancy of small neighbourhood fire stations which had lost their entire crews.
 
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#66
.... and all the while maintaining the lie that private profit = efficiency.
You couldn't make this stuff up:

A former Tory housing minister warned MPs against beefing up fire safety regulations, because it could discourage house building.

Brandon Lewis admitted automatic sprinklers save lives, but said it was not the government's responsibility to encourage developers to fit them.

It was revealed this morning that successive ministers had "sat on" evidence that suggested thousands of tower blocks like London's Grenfell House were vulnerable to fire.

The coroner's report into a 2009 blaze in London recommended building regulations be updated, and called for developers refurbishing high-rise blocks to be encouraged to install sprinkler systems.

But five years later, Mr Lewis told MPs: "We believe that it is the responsibility of the fire industry, rather than the Government, to market fire sprinkler systems effectively and to encourage their wider installation."

He said the Tory government had committed to being the first to reduce regulations nationwide, pledging a one in-two out rule.

He added: "The cost of fitting a fire sprinkler system may affect house building—something we want to encourage—so we must wait to see what impact that regulation has." ...

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-minister-warned-beefing-up-10622601

He went on to become Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service! Kafkaesque!
 

Cochise

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#67
They seem to be looking at two different things - what effect do high rise flat regulations have on houses? Or am I missing something.
 

Rerenny

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#68
One of the reasons we shouldn't jump to conclusions is that what has happened might be due to some new previously undiagnosed hazard, whereupon the fulminations that 'this could have been prevented' look kinda embarrassing.

I'm not saying I believe that, but new safety hazards do crop up and there has to be a first time. One thinks of the series of Comet crashes which opened up a whole new understanding of metal fatigue.

I have nothing but admiration and respect for every fire-fighter - theirs is probably the worst and one of the most important jobs in the world - it takes cold courage and determination way beyond that which I posses. I was in New York on the first evening after 9/11 when the planes had started flying again, (different story) and I have not forgotten the poignancy of small neighbourhood fire stations which had lost their entire crews.
I sort of hope that whatever happened in Kensington has no precedence, cold comfort indeed, but something similar involving cladding happened in Melbourne: cheap cladding and fire. In Oxford, tower blocks are currently undergoing similar superficial refurbishment. One hopes a few more pennies were spent and that the cladding stuck to the sides of Oxford's tower blocks is fire proof. Regardless, this is the kind of situation that we should be reading about in history books, not watching on the news.
 
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#70
They seem to be looking at two different things - what effect do high rise flat regulations have on houses? Or am I missing something.
And schools. Tweet from last August and article. There is something of the night about the Tories.

Angela Rayner MP‏Verified [email protected]
A disgrace, Tory Ministers are to remove requirement to have water sprinklers fitted to new schools,sneaking announcement out on DfE website
11:35 AM - 31 Aug 2016 from Ashton-under-Lyne, England

MINISTERS have been criticised after scrapping the requirement for fire sprinklers to be fitted in new schools

The move announced by the Department for Education (DfE), comes a week after a major fire at Selsey Academy in Chichester.

Julian Parsons, of the Chief Fire Officers Association, said: “This is a retrograde step that doesn’t make any sense. Sprinklers don’t just save lives, they prevent fires from spreading and causing significant damage and disruption to our children’s education.” ...
http://www.theargus.co.uk/news/14710216.display/
 

Cavynaut

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#72
They seem to be looking at two different things - what effect do high rise flat regulations have on houses? Or am I missing something.
Yes you are. You are missing the point that fire safety (amongst other such impediments to profiteering) should be firmly within the remit of the government, and not left to the private sector. That's not a political point, it's common sense.
 
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#73
This gets even more disgusting.

New Grenfell Tower cladding which 'may have helped fire spread' was added to improve view from nearby luxury houses
Average property prices in the luxurious adjacent areas in Kensington exceed £2million

Cladding added to Grenfell Tower in a recent refurbishment - which experts believe may have contributed to the rapid spread of a deadly fire - was added to improve the building's appearance for neighbouring communities, it has emerged.

The external appearance of the building from nearby 'conservation areas' is cited in an official report among the reasons for adding the cladding to the 24-storey high-rise block.

Twelve people have been confirmed dead in the blaze which rapidly ripped through the building in the early hours of this morning and a further 78 have been treated for injuries, with 18 in a critical condition.

Some experts, including Grand Designs' Kevin McCloud, have speculated the new cladding was 'dangerous' and could be the reason the fire spread so quickly up the building. ...

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/new-cladding-may-helped-grenfell-10623726
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#74
"improve view from nearby luxury houses"

As only the left-wing press is peddling that particular angle, I would treat it with caution.
The aluminium and foam, energy-efficient cladding was intended to improve both the insulation properties of the flats as well as making them look less grim.

In allowing the fire to spread very rapidly around the exterior of the building (where no sprinkler system would have made any difference) the cladding appears to be utterly unfit for use though. As it is the same system as has been used in recent French council blocks (HLMs) renovations and probably elsewhere in Europe, this has very wide implications. Not the least of which is that council tenants are unlikely to accept a flat near the top of a high-rise in future.

But while tenants insist in living in metropolitan areas, I really don't know how to resolve this problem. High-density, high-rise accommodation will never be as safe as low-density, low-rise.
 

Rerenny

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#75
could have, may have....all the fidgeting doesn't take away the reasonable assumption that if the fire had not escaped from some poor sod's kitchen and caught the cheap cladding, a type of cladding that even Dubai has ruled against, people would not be dead and instead of one bloke having to scrabble with his insurers, he has to deal with many dead friends and neighbours, and all, possibly, for the sake of a cheap contract.

It may be best left unsaid at the moment, but one knows where to look for arse-covering cowards and where, ultimately, the blame lies.

There really is something rotten in the state of Denmark...
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#76
But it's not cheap!

It's called Rainscreen Cladding, and it cost £millions to install on this particular tower block and it is disturbingly widespread elsewhere. It's not just tower blocks though. Very similar cladding has been used in tube station renovations and in the Eurotunnel.
 
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#77
"improve view from nearby luxury houses"

As only the left-wing press is peddling that particular angle, I would treat it with caution.
The aluminium and foam, energy-efficient cladding was intended to improve both the insulation properties of the flats as well as making them look less grim.

In allowing the fire to spread very rapidly around the exterior of the building (where no sprinkler system would have made any difference) the cladding appears to be utterly unfit for use though. As it is the same system as has been used in recent French council blocks (HLMs) renovations and probably elsewhere in Europe, this has very wide implications. Not the least of which is that council tenants are unlikely to accept a flat near the top of a high-rise in future.

But while tenants insist in living in metropolitan areas, I really don't know how to resolve this problem. High-density, high-rise accommodation will never be as safe as low-density, low-rise.
God bless your Tory spinning.
 
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#78
Its truly astounding! Through The Looking Glass.

FIRE MINISTER WAS AMONG 72 TORY LANDLORDS WHO VOTED AGAINST MAKING HOMES “FIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION”
WEDNESDAY 14 JUNE 14:44

Theresa May’s new Police and Fire Minister, Nick Hurd, was among the 72 Tory MPs – who are also residential landlords – that voted against a motion to make homes “fit for human habitation.”

Many people have been reposting articles about the debate in Parliament last January in light of today’s tragedy at Grenfell Tower.

Labour submitted an amendment to the Government’s Housing and Planning Bill designed to ensure all rental properties were “fit for human habitation.”

The need to improve fire prevention was explicitly set out by then Shadow Housing Minister Teresa Pearce. Proposing the amendment, she said:

“New clause 53 is about safety and would introduce a requirement for landlords to undertake electrical safety checks. Many organisations from across the sector support the measure, such as the Local Government Association, the London fire brigade, Shelter, the Association of Residential Letting Agents, British Gas, Crisis and the Fire Officers Association. They have all given their support in the past to measures that will see the introduction of mandatory electrical safety checks.

“It is estimated that electricity causes more than 20,000 house fires each year, leading to about 350 serious injuries and 70 deaths across the UK. Carbon monoxide, gas leaks and other fires and explosions cause fewer deaths and injuries, with 300 injuries and 18 deaths—these risks remain serious and it is right that we should continue to monitor them, but that shows what is at stake as regards electrical fires in the home.”

Labour’s amendment was defeated with the help of the 72 Tory MPs who top up their Parliamentary salaries as landlords.

Hurd, who makes at least £20,000 a year rental income from a 2 bedroom flat in Ruislip and a house in London, was among them. ...

https://politicalscrapbook.net/2017...voted-against-homes-fit-for-human-habitation/
 

Rerenny

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#79
"improve view from nearby luxury houses"

As only the left-wing press is peddling that particular angle, I would treat it with caution.
The aluminium and foam, energy-efficient cladding was intended to improve both the insulation properties of the flats as well as making them look less grim.

In allowing the fire to spread very rapidly around the exterior of the building (where no sprinkler system would have made any difference) the cladding appears to be utterly unfit for use though. As it is the same system as has been used in recent French council blocks (HLMs) renovations and probably elsewhere in Europe, this has very wide implications. Not the least of which is that council tenants are unlikely to accept a flat near the top of a high-rise in future.

But while tenants insist in living in metropolitan areas, I really don't know how to resolve this problem. High-density, high-rise accommodation will never be as safe as low-density, low-rise.
How much choice do tenants really have? It is insanely hard, nigh on impossible, to get council accommodation in Oxford (perhaps the only council that still owns and is responsible for its social housing), I can only imagine the hoops Londoners have to get through to gain what was once thought of as a desirable residence. You get to the top of the list and you are grateful to have a place of your own, "insisting" on London is one heck of a luxury that very few council tenants actually have, unless they have a family connection to the borough. And that gratitude seems to be repaid by being treated as a burden. Oxford City Council has worked to not sell off its social housing, and works tirelessly to keep every house, flat, and bungalow in top notch condition. Oxford is a Labour city, and it is currently fighting tooth and nail to stop Oxfordshire County Council from cocking everything up by combining the various bits of Oxon into one. Look at Oxfordshire on a map and you will see what Oxford City is up against; a tiny dot of red in a sea of blue (recently shored up by a large swathe of orange). Although not immediately connected as Oxford is somehow buffered, but the poor and vulnerable are being abused, routinely and endlessly, in other parts of the country. This has to stop. Government should be for the benefit of ALL the people, not just some (vaguely wealthy dudes) or for one self absorbed party.

This is all irrelevant, the people who lived in Grenfell Tower had the right and expectation to live there safely and for as long as they wanted. That right was pissed into the wind by some cheap bastard who couldn't give a fuck and is probably more concerned with his bank account than some poor family's future. I get to watch my cat go mental over a new toy this evening. Some people in Lancaster West don't have that simple joy; that's heartbreaking.
 

Rerenny

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#81
But it's not cheap!

It's called Rainscreen Cladding, and it cost £millions to install on this particular tower block and it is disturbingly widespread elsewhere. It's not just tower blocks though. Very similar cladding has been used in tube station renovations and in the Eurotunnel.
Not cheap, but cheaper? And something that should be looked at with a warier (is that a word?) eye?
 

Rerenny

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#82
As a Green voter, I'm not particularly into "Tory spinning".
I'm just trying to look at the bigger picture here, instead of using a tragedy to score political points.
Political point scoring is how this terrible situation will be used. That's the world we live, and suffer, in. Fight against it, please, for God's sake, do, but it's a horrible reality.
 
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#83
As a Green voter, I'm not particularly into "Tory spinning".
I'm just trying to look at the bigger picture here, instead of using a tragedy to score political points.
It was in the bloody planning application that the cladding was to make the building look nicer.

You claimed only the left wing press was saying that. That looks like scoring political points to me .

Spin off.
 

smokehead

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#85
A bill proposing homes 'be fit for human habitation' does seem somewhat emotive and loaded.
Perhaps seen as political point scoring in itself by the Conservatives who nevertheless have to acknowledge a catch all approach to deregulation on principle leaves them open to accusations of pursuing ideology at any cost.
The devil is in the detail, as always. How many M.P's actually read the bill is unknown.
Perhaps it was simply seen, and I can't dismiss the idea, was meant as an attempt to embarrass the government.
I've long thought governments are guilty of wilful ignorance when passing legislation, the unfortunately named 'bonfire of the regulations' was no doubt praised as a positive, liberating move, freeing business from restrictions that prevented growth and jobs.
Certainly there has been the mockery of health and safety regulations going on for a long time via the usual tactic of finding some absurd example to discredit the rest.
Along with the positive spin there must be an awareness that it leaves the way open to abuses, essentially a crossed finger approach that hopes all will be well and that all intentions are for the best.
As we all know, the real world doesn't work like that, and my anger is based on the fact that so do they.
 

Megadeth1977

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#86
adele Has apparently turn up to show her support as if she really gives a shit and I think she was just doing it be the centre of attention the old fake crying sob sob I care so much about these suckers I mean people. Sarcasm.
 

rynner2

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#87
London fire: Grenfell Tower cladding 'linked to other fires'

The cladding installed on Grenfell Tower was also used on other buildings that have been hit by fires around the world, the BBC has learned.

The exterior cladding, added in 2015, had a polyethylene - or plastic - core instead of an even more fireproof alternative, BBC Newsnight understands.
High-rise buildings in France, the UAE and Australia that had similar cladding have all been hit by fires that spread.

Rydon, which completed the renovations, said the work met all fire regulations.
They also insisted that, building control and safety standards had been fully met.

And Harley Facades, the company that fitted the panels to the building, said in a statement: "At this time, we are not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower."

The west London tower block was refurbished at a cost of almost £9m.
The exterior of the 1970s-built tower was modernised with replacement windows, while additional homes were added using vacant space in the building.

The work also included the installation of new cladding - consisting of two aluminium sheets with a polyethylene core.
However, experts have told Newsnight that cladding with a mineral core is considered to be less flammable.

Newsnight policy editor Chris Cook said the cladding used on Grenfell Tower was sold under the brand Reynobond.
He said manufacturers offer two different versions of the cladding - one with a plastic core and one with a mineral core.
He said he understood cladding with a plastic core was used in the west London tower.

Christopher Miers, managing director of specialist architects Probyn Miers, told the programme it was "critical" what the core of the cladding was made of.
"I think attention on the cladding is because we've seen in the reports and the photographs, burning exterior of the building," he said.
"And we've seen enormous areas where the exterior is destroyed."

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said people living in the north Kensington block "have the right" to ask whether the cladding compromised the safety of the building.

etc...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40283980
 

Cochise

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#88
Yes you are. You are missing the point that fire safety (amongst other such impediments to profiteering) should be firmly within the remit of the government, and not left to the private sector. That's not a political point, it's common sense.
So it should be. And it is.

But it was said several times yesterday - not by conservative politicians but by engineers and architects - that we apparently have some of the most stringent fire safety requirements in the world. I don't know what would have stopped this fire, nor do any of us. We don't even know if the building complied with the regulations - it was revealed yesterday that another building managed by the same company didn't, when a fire there was investigated.

In my personal opinion, the biggest thing I'd put a stop to is this wretched outsourcing of government/ council/ NHS functions to variously dodgy companies. It cannot , in the long run, be cheaper because the companies in question have to make a profit, it creates divided responsibilities which is the last thing you want when safety is at stake, and there never seems to be adequate quality control of the services provided.
 
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rynner2

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#89
The hidden home danger revealed by London fire Grenfell Tower doctor, Dr Malcolm Tunnicliff
By G_Bartlett | Posted: June 15, 2017

A hidden home danger that could prove fatal in a fire has been revealed by a doctor who treated victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze.
Dr Malcolm Tunnicliff, clinical director for emergency and acute care at King's College Hospital dealt with 12 casualties from the deadly inferno.
He said the injured were a mixture of children and adults, both men and women, ranging in age from four or five to middle age.

And before any of victims had even arrived, Dr Tunnicliff revealed staff were ready and waiting with cyanide poisoning kits.
According to experts, the foam found in old sofas and other upholsteries emits extremely dangerous toxins when burned.
"We knew in advance that it was a fire in an enclosed space so we also knew there was a real risk of cyanide poisoning from foam in older furniture burning," Dr Tunnicliff told the Guardian.
"So we had lots of cyano kits – which contain the antidote to cyanide poisoning – ready and waiting to give people."

For decades, polyurethane foam has been used as as padding in sofas, couches, chairs, pillows, and mattresses, as well as for padding under carpets.
And older furniture - where the foam has not been treated with flame retardant chemicals - is referred to as "solid gasoline" by fire experts.

When untreated foam is ignited, it burns extremely fast, reaching temperatures over 760 degrees celsius within minutes.
But what makes it even more deadly is the toxic gas produced when it burns.
Untreated foam emits hydrogen cyanide gas, which causes reduced oxygen, and when combined with carbon monoxide, is deadly.
Just one breath of superheated toxic gas can completely incapacitate a person.

etc...

http://www.cornwalllive.com/the-hid...m-tunnicliff/story-30391679-detail/story.html
 

blessmycottonsocks

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#90
The Eurotunnel? Oh dear.
Exactly. There have been 5 major Eurotunnel fires, which proved very difficult to extinguish. Similar cladding to the Grenfell tower is also installed around the world - notably across China and the Middle East. The 63-storey Address Dubai hotel fire in 2015 started with a minor short circuit around the 14th floor, but engulfed the building within minutes.
This potentially affects probably thousands of high-rise buildings and other infrastructure projects world-wide. Whether a council block or luxury hotel, they all burn with terrifying ease.
 
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