Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Two Bootle high-rise flats fail cladding fire tests

Two Bootle high-rise flats fail cladding fire tests Two Bootle high-rise flats fail cladding fire tests
Andrew Cummings | 26 June, 2017, 02:06

The scope of Britain's fire-safety crisis broadened on Saturday as London officials scrambled to evacuate four public housing towers due to concerns about fire doors and insulation around gas pipes.

The towers have been found to be covered with the same type of cladding as used at Grenfell, five miles to the south west, where at least 79 people died in the June 14 tragedy.

The samples came from 17 different locations around the country, including London, Manchester, Plymouth and Portsmouth.

(AP Photo/Alastair Grant). Fire officers talk to residents outside Burnham block, part of the Chalcots Estate in the borough of Camden, north London, Saturday June 24, 2017, after the local council evacuated some 650 homes overnight.

In response, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, said May needed to "get a grip" and lead a stronger response to what is now a "national threat".

All residents affected by the Chalcots evacuations are welcome to join us at the Swiss Cottage Community Centre between 12:30 and 14:30 today to celebrate Eid.

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said on Saturday night: "A failure in testing of the cladding does not necessarily mean that a building will have to be evacuated".

British Prime Minister Theresa May had earlier said it is possible for some councils to take "mitigating action" on tower blocks, but in other cases it may be necessary to move people out.

Four of the five Chalcots Estate towers in Camden, north London, were deemed unsafe after they were found to use cladding similar to that on Grenfell, widely blamed for the rapid spread of the massive blaze last week that is presumed to have killed 79 people. Many were directed to inflatable beds laid out on the floor of the local sports hall.

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Despite the safety fears, around 200 residents have refused to leave their homes, some of whom suffer from agoraphobia, according to local authority leader Georgia Gould.

She added: "The thing that makes me angry is that we watched the news, we tried to evacuate and they sent us back, they said they were only taking Taplow".

Residents complained of first hearing about the evacuation from the media and getting very short notice to leave from city officials going door-to-door.

Ms Gould said they have more hotel spaces and 100 flats of their own properties on Maiden Lane which they have just built, becoming available for residents on Monday. Look, you've got to err on the side of caution.

All 60 high-rise buildings that have been tested so far for fire-resistant cladding have failed, a United Kingdom government spokesman told CNN on Sunday. The tower's cladding was believed to have rapidly spread that blaze.

Gould, the Camden council's leader, said it would take up to four weeks to fix the blocks that were evacuated.

The Echo asked Gentoo if the cladding had failed safety testing, but the company said they didn't have anything further to add on their statement regarding the panels.

But Ms Ryan said she was "appalled" that it was in a state of disrepair when they arrived and returned to her north London home despite Camden Council warning residents "must leave".

The cladding has since failed all safety checks and prompted a nationwide review of the materials used on everything from hospitals to hotels and apartment blocks.

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