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The conflagration in De Pass Gardens, Barking, was due to cladding breaking fire while safety concerns were ignored, it seems.

According to the Guardian‘s report (link below), it is believed the fire spread after someone lit a barbecue on a balcony.

The flames reached the wooden cladding that covered the building and, despite claims that it was flame-retardant and perfectly safe, spread across the whole building rapidly.

Apparently the sprinkler system did not work.

Concerns had been raised about possible fire safety problems in early May, after the BBC’s Watchdog programme had highlighted fire safety problems at a development by the same builder – Bellway Homes – in Scotland.

An email from Bellway Homes said the construction method in Barking was different and therefore the De Pass Gardens development would not be affected the same way.

But the company had hired a fire safety warden to patrol the building in order to address unspecified concerns.

It all seems highly reminiscent of the Grenfell Tower fire of almost exactly two years ago.

On June 14, 2017, fire ripped through the allegedly-flameproof cladding on Grenfell Tower, despite residents having been assured that it was safe. There was no sprinkler system.

That blaze killed 72 people.

The Conservative government of the day – almost exactly the same administration as the current Conservative government – promised that lessons would be learned (the old mantra) but here we are again.

It seems clear that building regulations are not robust enough to ensure the safety of tower block residents, their homes and their possessions.

I recall another Conservative government – that of David Cameron – promising a “bonfire of red tape”, scrapping regulaations on the basis that they were not necessary.

Is this the reason the people of Barking were endangered yesterday, their homes and possessions destroyed? If so, who will face prosecution for the threat against the residents’ lives?

Source: Barking fire: residents claim safety fears about flats were downplayed | UK news | The Guardian

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