Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Five London towers being evacuated over fire safety fears: Authorities

Manslaughter charges eyed in deadly Grenfell Tower blaze Grenfell Tower: Manslaughter Charges Possible as Insulation Samples Fail Safety Test
Andrew Cummings | 24 June, 2017, 01:12

Works to remove the cladding are expected to take two to four weeks.

The Chalcots estate has five tower blocks - four 22 storey blocks and one 18 storey block.

In its most detailed briefing yet on the criminal investigation, the Metropolitan Police on Friday confirmed residents' suspicions that the inferno at Grenfell was touched off by a refrigerator fire.

Thousands of people may be living in potentially unsafe tower blocks after at least 11 buildings were revealed to have combustible cladding similar to that thought to have fuelled the Grenfell Tower fire.

One shirt bearing the London Ambulance Service logo said: "We refuse to forget you".

And a council spokeswoman said fire safety was "paramount in the construction and management of all council buildings, including offices and schools".

The government has ordered an immediate examination of the refrigerator model that started the blaze.

The Hotpoint fridge-freezers were manufactured by Italian company Indesit between 2006 and 2009 before the company was bought by Whirlpool.

Police says 79 people are either dead or missing and presumed dead in the blaze, although that number may change.

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The UK's Department for Communities and Local Government has written to all local authority and housing association chief executives to advise them on steps to take if tower blocks in their area are found to be covered in cladding they are concerned about.

McCormack also repeated calls for anyone with information on who might have been in the tower to come forward.

Authorities now acknowledge the risks posed by exterior cladding to thousands of people around the country who live in blocks like Grenfell Tower.

"All we care about is getting people safely into accommodation while we do these urgent works".

Teacher Kim Price, who lives in Blashford tower with her 14-year-old son, added: "I really don't know what to do, I'm so scared right now".

"It's obviously a tragedy and scandal in west London at the Grenfell Tower but it's now emerging as a picture of a national scandal".

Asked if the insulation and aluminium tiles used were acceptable for such buildings, McCormack told reporters: "No they're not".

Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack says officers have seized documents in the investigation into the fire.

"What we are being told at the moment by the Building Research Establishment is that the cladding and insulation failed all safety tests". Along with Manchester, only Camden and Plymouth have been identified among this list. The cladding is being studied amid fears that the panels fueled the fire in the 24-story building that was engulfed in less than an hour. Early tests of materials used on the building's exterior returned alarming results, she said.

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