Over 700 London flats evacuated on fire issues

Posted June 25, 2017

Camden Council said it made a decision to evacuate the buildings on the Chalcots Estate after fire inspectors told officials that the blocks were "not safe for people to sleep in overnight".

Thousands of residents were today evacuated from four housing towers as the United Kingdom government in the wake of the deadly Grenfell Tower blaze found 27 high-rise residential blocks across Britain unsafe.

The council initially announced the evacuation of one tower block, Taplow, but later extended the move to all five tower blocks it had checked.

The council has booked hotels across London and the works are expected to take up to four weeks.

Portsmouth and Brent, along with Camden, Manchester, Plymouth and Hounslow, were named by the Government on Saturday as having buildings that had failed tests amid a nationwide safety operation launched after at least 79 people died when fire ripped through Grenfell Tower in north Kensington on June 14.

An in-depth look at the causes of the Grenfell Tower blaze by the New York Times detailed how in the United Kingdom, a "drive by successive governments from both major political parties to free businesses from the burden of safety regulations" allowed the tower's owners to swaddle the outside of the building in a highly flammable aluminum and polyethylene cladding.

"So far the cladding from 34 high-rise buildings, in 17 local authority areas, has failed the combustibility test", he added.

The Metropolitan Police said cladding attached to the 24-storey public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and they had seized documents from a number of organisations.

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

"Following extensive joint visits and inspections, the brigade advised that there were a number of fire-safety issues in the buildings and recommended that residents should not remain in the buildings until these issues were resolved", the brigade said in a statement.

"When we found out other bad things [previous fire safety concerns] we had a big residents' meeting and talked to people, but it was an "emergency".

Earlier Friday, police said they were considering filing manslaughter charges in the Grenfell disaster.

"We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards", Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters.

Chalcots was refurbished between 2006 and 2009 by the same firm, Rydon, that oversaw work at Grenfell Tower in 2015-16.

The Government has ordered an immediate examination of the refrigerator model that started the blaze - the Hotpoint model FF175BP.

Hotpoint said Friday that "words can not express our sorrow at this bad tragedy" and added it was working with authorities to examine the appliance.

The government has called on all building owners, public and private, to submit samples of cladding material used on their buildings for testing. When asked about the emails, Arconic said in a statement that it had known the panels would be used at Grenfell Tower but that it was not its role to decide what was or was not compliant with local building regulations. London officials scrambled to evacuate four public housing towers after experts found them "not safe for people to sleep in overnight".

Prime Minister Theresa May said Saturday that the government would do "what is necessary" to ensure people would have somewhere to stay.

She's concerned about her infant baby: "They want to put me in here and it's not sterile for him".