Category Archives: Fire

Files on #GrenfellTower cladding ‘lost forever’ after deletion from laptop. How convenient!

Up in smoke: Grenfell Tower after the fire that killed 72 residents. Emails and documents on the refurbishment that put flammable cladding on the building has been found to have been destroyed.

Emails, documents and design drawings relating to the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower that put highly flammable cladding on its walls have been lost forever after being deleted from a laptop, the inquiry into the 2017 disaster has learned.

Design manager Daniel Anketell-Jones, who worked for cladding specialists Harley Facades until March 2016, told the hearing he erased his work computer of all files after agreeing to keep the device despite leaving the firm.

Harley managing director Ray Bailey said… “Daniel Anketell-Jones… left Harley some months before the fire.

“By that stage he had both deleted all of his Harley related emails from his laptop and had arranged with our service provider to remove his email file from our systems.”

Asked about this by inquiry lawyer Kate Grange QC, Mr Anketell-Jones said: “I don’t know what he means by that.

“I didn’t arrange for that to happen. I don’t think I would have the authority or the security to do that.”

How convenient for this firm – directly involved in the refurbishment that turned Grenfell Tower into a tinderbox – that this documentation has similarly gone up in smoke.

Email dialogues that are now lost could have cast light on whether designers were aware that the cladding was a danger to the lives of everybody living behind it (72 of those lives were lost in the blaze).

The deletion may have been entirely innocent – but it looks deeply suspicious.

And it creates another obstacle for the inquiry, that is trying to determine where ultimate responsibility for the deaths lies.

Source: Grenfell files ‘lost forever’ after laptop wiped, inquiry hears | London | ITV News

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Bolton cladding fire suggests Conservatives did NOTHING after Grenfell – other than blame firefighters

Tory response: This satirical image from Twitter reflects the public opinion of blame-shifting Tories.

Wasn’t there a warning that Grenfell Tower could happen all over again, if flammable cladding was not removed from the many other buildings across the UK that had it?

I think there was.

And were the residents at the Cube, student accommodation in Bolton assured that the cladding on that building was not the same as that used on Grenfell Tower?

I think they were:

Then, last night (November 15), this happened:

It seems clear that the cladding on the building was spreading the fire. And look at the way it was dripping, molten, to the ground outside:

According to Skwawkbox, “BBC now stressing the cladding in the #BoltonFire wasn’t the same flammable cladding used on Grenfell Tower. Just some other flammable cladding, so that’s ok then…”

But The Guardian has more useful information: “Students at the Cube had been visited by fire safety officers following the Grenfell Tower fire and assured that the building was not clad in the same material, the Bolton News reported.

“However, the planned cladding materials on one part of the facade included aluminium composite panels (ACM) or fibre cement panels, and high pressure laminated panels (HPL) fixed to timber battens on another, according to drawings submitted by RADM Architects to Bolton’s planning department in 2014. It is not yet clear which of these materials were used.

“ACM panels are filled with polyethylene, which, as at Grenfell, can be highly combustible or can contain a fire retardant to make them safer. HPL panels, made of compressed paper or wood fibre, also come with different combustibility ratings.”

It is all very well saying the cladding wasn’t the same as in Grenfell – but if it is still inflammable, then the students were in danger. They had a right to know this but it seems they weren’t told.

In this context, it is a miracle that only two people were injured.

And that miracle allows us to examine the political aspect of this – which is disastrous for the Conservatives.

Boris Johnson’s party had more than two years to clear flammable cladding from all the buildings in the UK that were in danger. They didn’t.

Why not? Was it expensive?

In the light of their current splurge-spending plans, offered in a desperate bid to bribe the electorate away from Labour’s better, costed plans to revitalise the nation, that would be an insult of possibly criminal dimensions.

And it is clear that the failure to take action constitutes a danger to the lives of the many thousands of people living in cladded tower blocks across the UK.

Those people should consider this very carefully when placing their vote in the general election.

Labour’s John Healey has said: “If … reports are right that the cladding has contributed to this fire, then the Government has serious questions to answer.

“As figures released this week show, two and a half years after the Grenfell Tower fire, thousands of tower block residents are still living in homes with deadly cladding. This should shame the Conservatives and they must now act to make all buildings safe.”

You can take that as a promise that a Labour government will take such action.

This Writer would like an inquiry into the issue of cladding, and the companies that have been responsible for it. Is it all flammable? Or is some of it safe? And can those responsible for covering buildings with life-endangering material be prosecuted for it?

Shouldn’t those in the Tory government who didn’t have it removed be prosecuted, also?

It is certain that the principle of collective responsibility applies – everybody in the Conservative government must take the responsibility for allowing this danger to continue.

And everybody living in a cladded building should take responsibility for ending that danger – by voting the Conservatives out.

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Vox Political proved right again as London Fire Brigade scapegoated for Grenfell fire

Inferno: The Grenfell Tower blaze caused the greatest single loss of life in London since World War II, with official figures showing 72 people lost their lives.

This should make your blood boil.

After their heroism on the night of the Grenfell Tower inferno, it seems the London Fire Brigade is being blamed for the loss of 72 lives as a result of the blaze.

This Site predicted as much in September, when LFB members were interviewed under caution by police over potential health and safety breaches to do with the policy to tell people to stay in their flats while the fire raged outside.

Now retired high court judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who led the inquiry, has said many lives could have been saved if her officers had identified sooner that the fire was out of control and told residents to evacuate.

But isn’t it true that the “stay put” policy had been imposed by landlords the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) and was standard policy for a high-rise building in the United Kingdom?

He found that the LFB failed to train its incident commanders and firefighters in how to recognise the need for evacuation or in the dangers of combustible cladding.

But he also said there was “compelling evidence that the external walls of the building failed to comply with requirements” of building regulations governing fire safety. They didn’t adequately resist the spread of fire – “on the contrary they actively promoted it”.

And his conclusion that “the principal reason why the flames spread so rapidly up the building” was its aluminium composite panels and the “melting and dripping of burning polyethylene” was contrary to the evidence of cladding panel manufacturer Arconic.

This suggests that, even though senior officers had been briefed on the risk of cladding fires from high-rise blazes abroad, they had no reason to believe that Grenfell might fall prey to such an event.

So the LFB had no way of knowing that Grenfell would suffer such a cladding fire and in any case it was bound by a policy imposed by the tower’s landlord.

And we are expected to accept that the LFB deserves the blame for it. What a travesty.

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Is this an attempt to scapegoat the London Fire Brigade for the Grenfell disaster?

Ruin: Firefighters risked their lives in Grenfell Tower – not just while the building was burning but afterwards, as they searched among the rubble for residents.

This seems extremely sinister.

We know that the Grenfell Tower disaster was caused by a faulty kitchen appliance.

It was then accelerated by the fact that the tower had no sprinkler system because landlords working for Kensington and Chelsea Council did not consider it necessary.

And of course the same landlords had installed “fire resistant” cladding that instead hugely worsened the blaze.

Right?

But no real action has been taken against either the landlord organisation or the council.

And now the fire brigade that handled the blaze has been interviewed under caution by police over potential health and safety breaches to do with the policy to tell people to stay in their flats while the fire raged outside.

But the “stay put” policy had been imposed by landlords the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) and was standard policy for a high-rise building in the United Kingdom. 

It relies on the assumption that construction standards such as concrete and fire-resistant doors will allow firefighters to contain a fire within one flat – which was impossible in Grenfell Tower, which was not built to a standard that made this possible.

It seems clear that firefighters followed nationwide guidelines that were understood to be the best course at the time, and changed their plans when they realised that these guidelines had proved ineffective.

Blame for this ineffectiveness must fall on builders who used substandard materials, the landlord who decided that the proper materials and safety methods were not necessary, the council that employed that landlord, and the Tory government that relaxed safety requirements – making it possible for actions that endangered residents to happen.

I remember the eyewitness accounts of firefighters coming out of that inferno. It was clear that not only had they done everything they could to get as many people as possible out of danger; they had put themselves in considerable danger to do so.

But now it seems attempts are being made to blame them.

Who ordered this investigation into the Fire Service? What was their motivation for doing so?

And shouldn’t they be made to feel ashamed?

London Fire Brigade officials have been interviewed under caution by police investigating the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Scotland Yard detectives questioned the body over its duty to protect the public and its own employees from health and safety risks.

Source: Grenfell Tower fire: London Fire Brigade officials interviewed under caution by police over disaster | The Independent

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Barking fire blamed on cladding – and safety fears were downplayed. Grenfell Mk 2?

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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Huge fire in NEWLY-BUILT block of flats. Is this how the Tory government learned the lessons of Grenfell?

As I type these words, around 100 firefighters are battling a blaze in a tower block on De Pass Gardens, Barking, in London.

The cause is not known. There are no known injuries, and evacuation procedures are in place.

But there is no avoiding the obvious question: Why has this happened after the Tory government promised to learn the lessons of Grenfell?

Look at the strength of this fire, as shown in the following footage:

And did you read the comment about the cladding? Builders had been challenge about it only weeks ago, and said it was “fire retardant and perfectly safe”.

Does it look safe to you?

Sadly, it seems to be exactly the same stupidity as at Grenfell.

I’m sure you and I will look forward to the mealy-mouthed excuses that will flow from the same sources we heard after Grenfell. I hope there will be much less tolerance for them this time.

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The ugly politics of the Grenfell Tower fire

Grenfell Tower in flames, early morning of June 14, 2017.

People have died in an entirely preventable fire that engulfed a 24-storey tower block in west London, after landlords clad it in flammable material and council chiefs, together with MPs, failed to review safety.

Not only that, but is it significant that Grenfell Tower, in Notting Hill, is in the Kensington Parliamentary constituency that was taken by Labour in last Thursday’s election? I wonder.

The fire began on the tower block’s second storey and spread rapidly through the building, which reportedly had only one exit. People did manage to escape, but many were either trapped or jumped out of their windows to escape the flames.

Firefighters arrived at the scene within six minutes of being called but were unable to reach the higher parts of the building where flames had already taken hold.

Members of the local Conservative-held Kensington and Chelsea Council, their officers, and government ministers all knew that the tower block was a danger to life – but did nothing about it.

Already concern has been raised that these public representatives were too keen to bury complaints – because they would have required expensive remedial action by landlords, both here and in 4,000 other blocks around the UK?

Here’s David Collins of the residents’ association:

According to the Evening Standard:

Residents had warned that the building – which has around 120 flats reportedly served by a single main entrance – was a fire hazard last year when rubbish piled up in a communal walkway.

The Grenfell Action Group raised their concerns in a blog post last January, saying: “The potential for a fire to break out in the communal area on the walkway does not bear thinking about as residents would be trapped in the building with no way out.”

It was given a £10 million refurbishment a year ago, with the installation of insulated exterior cladding, double-glazed windows and a communal heating system.

But it seems the cladding was, in fact, flammable. Here’s The Guardian:

Another man who fled from the 17th floor said he was alerted to the danger by the arrival of fire engines.

The man said he only saw fire when he stuck his head out of the window.

“I went back inside the house, looked out the window. I started looking down the window – I had to really pull myself out to look down the window, from the 17th floor, and I see the fire blazing, and coming up really fast, because of the cladding – the cladding was really flammable, and it just caught up like a matchstick.”

Here he is. See for yourself:

Some of us have already drawn the logical conclusion. Here’s journalist and broadcaster Sonia Poulton, on Facebook:

The Grenfell Tower fire is ‘unprecedented’ in scale according to a London fireman with almost 30 years experience.

“We have been shouting on social media for years about how unsafe it is,” say the action group who tried to get real support from the local council, Kensington and Chelsea.

I don’t need to tell many of my friends on here that it was going to inevitably end in catastrophe. And it did last night.

Huge fire. People dead. People in hospital. People changed for life.

That tower block is in one of the wealthiest areas in the UK and, in these increasingly gentrified times, it would’ve been earmarked for ‘development’ – almost certainly by private landlords – years ago.

Councils around the UK – cash-starved by Government – are, in turn, cash-starving local services, including social housing, and mostly until they fall apart. – In one way or another.

Here is the unpalatable truth: those casualties – mums, dads, baby bear, pets, etc. – are cheap to those who are running our public services. Truly, they are collateral damage. There is no sugar coating this. The wealth divide has never been bigger. Enough is enough.

My thoughts are with all those who lost their lives and with those who are detrimentally impacted by this inferno. Thank you our fire service, also cash starved, you are the salt of the earth.

It seems the concerns of Grenfell Tower residents were buried by a committee of Kensington and Chelsea Council that consists of eight Conservative members and two from the Labour Party:

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/874910417386188804

Former London Mayor Boris Johnson (Conservative) spent his term buying pointless water cannons and cutting vital fire engines:

The de-funding of the Fire and Rescue Service has already been blamed for fire crews’ inability to reach the 27th floor of the building.

And Theresa May’s new chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, was the last in a string of Tory housing ministers who did nothing at all – for four years – about a report warning that high-rise blocks like Grenfell Tower were vulnerable to fire.

According to the Mirror:

Gavin Barwell, who was housing minister until losing his seat in last week’s election, promised to review part B of the Building Regulations 2010, which relate to fire safety, but the review never materialised.

A coroner’s investigation into the blaze at Lakanal House in South London in 2009, which claimed six lives, found panels on the exterior of the block had not provided the required fire resistance and insufficient fire risk assessments had been made.

The coroner made a series of recommendation following the tragedy, but while some have been taken up, a full review of building regulations has yet to take place.

Ronnie King, honorary administrative secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fire Safety and Rescue and a former Chief Fire Officer, told LBC Radio this morning they had “strongly recommended” installing fire suppression systems and sprinklers in 4,000 similar tower blocks across the country.

He said: “We were strongly recommending this because the fire at Lakanal House spread within four minutes and came into the flat above and then went on to kill six people, regrettably.”

Mr King said it was likely similar failings existed in West London’s Grenfell House.

Well, we know there was no communal sprinkler system, thanks to the testimony of the unnamed escaped resident (above).

We may conclude that the Grenfell Tower fire was a tragedy waiting to happen, in which everybody responsible for ensuring the safety of residents failed in that duty.

But there is the even worse aspect of this – that it might have been politically expedient for this to happen now that the Kensington constituency has a Labour MP. After all, what better way to smear a people’s representative than to present them as someone who cannot protect the people?

I know. It’s just a thought – but a disturbing one.

Remember the words of Ms Poulton, above: ” Those casualties… are cheap to those who are running our public services.

“Truly, they are collateral damage.”

https://twitter.com/JinxMinx82/status/874902562369044480

ADDITIONAL: I’m told officials have now stated that six people have died.

And it seems Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tried to pass a law to make homes safe – last year – and the Conservatives rejected it.

 

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