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Grenfel Tower Fire, London

 
 
Reply Wed 14 Jun, 2017 02:32 pm
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/14/what-happened-at-grenfell-tower-london-fire-visual-guide

This is horrific. I've long been a scaredy cat about tall buildings (I prefer looking at them from outside) and am sure I'm not the only one. This article is useful re figuring out what happened and I've no doubt it will be updated.

(quote) A baby was caught by a member of the public after being dropped from the ninth or 10th floor, a witness said.
I can't stop visualizing the baby - and the person dropping the baby to save it. And the person catching the baby.
I looked quickly at the plans .. only one stairwell. Yikes. Is this usual? I did read about people worried about fire there, probably in another Guardian article today. I remember there have been a lot of austerity cuts going on, but don't know yet if that is related here.


50 years ago in the US, there were stories about a housing project in St. Louis being demolished for other reasons, kind of a long time lesson for city planners. This isn't the same situation, or I don't think it is - but I've remembered reading about Pruitt Igoe a lot of years ago and it still sticks in my brain, which is why I brought it up.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pruitt%E2%80%93Igoe

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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 1,305 • Replies: 20

 
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Wed 14 Jun, 2017 03:15 pm
@ossobucotemp,
If building design is causing deaths, then I would expect a rather loud and angry investigation (and, hopefully, a change in the standards).
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jun, 2017 03:20 pm
@jespah,
I have to read more - the Guardian has lots of articles going on it. I agree with you re need for serious investigation, fast fast fast, but well done. (My bro-in-law, x but still a pal, is a Los Angeles chief building inspector, last I know, still carrying on.)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Wed 14 Jun, 2017 03:30 pm
@ossobucotemp,
Simply awful. I don't understand how that could exist with only one stairwell. I thought that type of design ended many decades ago. Horrific.

Once again, I'm happy that hamburgboy has moved to a ground floor unit in the building he is in. There was a small fire a few weeks ago (cigarette in a sofa on the second floor). He went out on his little patio and waited til the fire department was done. The fire before - he walked to his car and waited there.
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jun, 2017 03:51 pm
@ehBeth,
He has always been a smartie, that hamburgboy. Hello from me.

I know fair bits and pieces about building and other kinds of design, plus lots I don't, but I'm pretty much out of it re knowing about towers. I loved NYC as a kid for a year but was most interested in Macy's toy department. Oh, and the big ships lined up on the Hudson.

I went on a architecture tour with other a2kers at the 2006 Chicago meet (Thomas, Walter, Cicerone), but that didn't involve going to rooftops or much if any comments on tower design.

I remember fire escapes in New York. Even we had one up on the sixth and highest floor - am not clear if those still happen in tower building, nor if there were any on the Grenfell Tower.
(I happen to live in high desert flatville)
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jun, 2017 04:37 pm
@ossobucotemp,
All right, I'll give some links:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/14/disaster-waiting-to-happen-fire-expert-slams-uk-tower-blocks

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/14/high-rise-grenfell-tower-safe-building-west-london-fire

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/14/towers-managers-were-reviewing-safety-after-fire-at-another-block

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/14/london-fire-grenfell-tower-blaze-puts-emergency-service-cuts-in-sharp-focus

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/14/high-rise-grenfell-tower-safe-building-west-london-fire


There will be more on this, and I'm only commenting via one newspaper.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2017 12:54 am
There will be an investigation and it will be thorough, but nobody wants to speculate as to the exact cause. Having said that there are some points. First of all this should not have happened, buildings like this are designed for fires like this not to be able to spread. Something went wrong, and what's worse is that people had been told to wait in their flats for the fire brigade, that doomed many people.

The cladding that was recently put up appears to have acted as a chimney, that and some recent gas work have been blamed for spreading the fire.

There was another major fire in 2009, and a whole list of recommendations were put forward. Then the Tories got in with their austerity, warnings about fire safety were ignored. The fire safety commission made up of MPs is regularly sidelined, recommendations pushed into the long grass.

This is one of the richest boroughs in the country, full of multi millionaires, but the victims were some of the very poorest. Something stinks.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2017 08:06 am
More on the cladding.

Quote:
The cladding installed on Grenfell Tower was also used on other buildings that have been hit by fires around the world, the BBC has learned.
The exterior cladding, added in 2015, had a polyethylene - or plastic - core instead of an even more fireproof alternative, BBC Newsnight understands.
High-rise buildings in France, the UAE and Australia that had similar cladding have all been hit by fires that spread.
Rydon, which completed the renovations, said the work met all fire regulations.
They also insisted that, building control and safety standards had been fully met.
And Harley Facades, the company that fitted the panels to the building, said in a statement: "At this time, we are not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower."
The west London tower block was refurbished at a cost of almost £9m.
The exterior of the 1970s-built tower was modernised with replacement windows, while additional homes were added using vacant space in the building.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40283980

One thing that was mentioned on C4 news last night was that the regulations aren't stringent enough, and different for new builds as opposed to renovations. All the experts interviewed agreed that if every room had had sprinklers fitted this would not have happened.
jespah
 
  3  
Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2017 08:44 am
@izzythepush,
I really hope the regulations are beefed up and they stop grandfathering in older buildings. This sort of tragedy is preventable.
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2017 08:52 am
@jespah,
The problem is that health and safety regulations are completely undermined by the right wing media. Phrases like "health and safety gone mad," are common. People link it to the nanny state and excessive amounts of red tape, and there's also some Europhobia involved.

As long as things don't go wrong this stance can be maintained, but now they're falling over each other trying to deflect blame. This should not have happened after the fire in 2009.

At the moment there is political will to get things done, but I worry that two or three years down the line memories will not be as vivid and vested interests will be lobbying to have proposals watered down.

This isn't just a UK issue, this cladding has been used around the World.
jespah
 
  4  
Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2017 09:42 am
@izzythepush,
I hope the UK gets changes like we did after the Station Nightclub fire in Providence. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) upped its standards as a direct result of 100 people dying. http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/property-type-and-vehicles/nightclubs-assembly-occupancies/the-station-nightclub-fire
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2017 09:51 am
@jespah,
Let's hope Trump's budget cuts don't undermine the changes you've made. Complaints about red tape and out of control H&S legislation aren't unique to the UK.
0 Replies
 
ossobucotemp
 
  3  
Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2017 10:15 am
@izzythepush,
Re my general comments about towers and fire, I completely missed thinking about a good sprinklers system.. doh!
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2017 11:43 am
@ossobucotemp,
It's pretty much on the news 24/7 over here. If it wasn't I'd probably have missed it too.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2017 03:30 am
Quote:
Police have warned they may never be able to identify all of the people who died in the fire that engulfed a west London block of flats.
Emergency services are to spend a third day searching for bodies in the burnt-out Grenfell Tower in North Kensington.
Seventeen people are known to have died but that figure is set to rise, with fears the death toll could exceed 60.
Fire chiefs say they do not expect to find more survivors, while PM Theresa May has ordered a full public inquiry.
Police said on Thursday that they had launched a criminal investigation into the fire.
The prime minister - who faced criticism for not meeting survivors of the tragedy on a visit to the scene on Thursday - said the victims "deserve answers".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40298473<br />
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2017 09:20 am
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40298473
Quote:


The Queen and Prince William visited a relief centre for Grenfell Tower fire victims, while the missing could number as many as 76, the BBC understands.

Their visit to the Westway Sports Centre comes after police say some of those killed may never be identified.

Police have confirmed that at least 30 people have died as a result of the blaze at the west London flats.

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said that of those who were killed, one died in hospital.

He also said there was nothing to suggest that the fire was started deliberately, and that everyone in hospital has now been identified.

0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2017 01:19 pm
Quote:
Protests are being held in London as residents demand support for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.
Between 50 and 60 people stormed Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall as members of the public said the homeless needed help "right now".
Crowds gathered outside a hall where PM Theresa May met survivors and protests have also been held at Downing Street.
Mrs May has sanctioned £5m for clothes, food and emergency supplies while the death toll has risen to at least 30.
The BBC understands those missing could number about 70, with the 30 likely to be among that number. Three of those who died have been identified.
The first protest began at around 15:00 BST at the town hall and scores have since joined it.
At around 16:30 BST, people began to rush up the steps and make their way into the building.
One member of the public said: "Nobody knows what is happening. People are so angry. Those people shouldn't be sleeping in the street".
Mustafa Al Mansur, who organised the protest, read a statement from the council which promised to rehouse as many people locally as they could and to provide funding for those affected.
But he called the response "flimsy" with "no concrete answers" - especially on the question of number of residents who lived in the flats.
"The people were not satisfied with the answers," he told BBC News. "The people were getting frustrated and they walked towards the building. They did not force themselves inside. They got inside the main building and were in the foyer, just speaking."
Police then arrived on the scene and formed a barricade, which Mr Al Mansur said led to "physical confrontation" between the two sides.
There were then angry scenes outside the Clement James Centre, in North Kensington, where the meeting with the prime minister and residents of the tower had been held.
The Press Association reported one woman was crying at the scene saying it was because the prime minister had declined to speak to anyone outside.
Dozens of demonstrators surged towards the entrance and there were scuffles outside as organisers appealed for calm.
Mrs May had faced criticism for not meeting with survivors in the immediate aftermath, unlike Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
Asked about the reaction of the crowd, Mrs May defended the government's response.
"What I am now absolutely focused on is ensuring we get that support on the ground," she said. "The government is making money available, we are ensuring we are going to get to the bottom of what has happened, we will ensure that people are rehoused. We need to make sure that actually happens."
Large crowds of people also gathered in Westminster and made their way to Downing Street. The crowd has been heard chanting, "Justice for Grenfell", along with anti-government slogans, including "May must go" and "blood on your hands". A march started making its way down Whitehall but was halted by a cordon of police officers outside Downing Street itself.

The £5m Grenfell Tower Residents' Discretionary Fund, announced by Mrs May, includes the aim to rehouse residents within three weeks as close to where they lived before as possible, to pay for temporary housing in the meantime and to provide extra financial assistance.
During her meeting with survivors, the PM also said they would be consulted on the terms of the public inquiry announced on Thursday and receive state funding for legal representation.
Mrs May said: "Everyone affected by this tragedy needs reassurance that the government is there for them at this terrible time - and that is what I am determined to provide."


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40298473
0 Replies
 
ossobucotemp
 
  2  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2017 02:01 pm
@izzythepush,
Yeah, but I should know about sprinklers, at least enough to think about them.
Reading about this is stunning, even this far away.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2017 02:04 pm
@ossobucotemp,
This is a major crisis for a really weak government, and May has ballsed it up from the beginning. Strong and stable seems like a joke, it will haunt her doomed premiership.
ossobucotemp
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2017 02:16 pm
@izzythepush,
Fine with me, re May. I'm tired of her hair (and much more serious stuff).

I'm still ignorant about whether towers routinely only have one staircase, and probably so is ehBeth, re towers there. I don't know about it in the US
either, much less Canada, but it may be true for old buildings in the US.

What to do with cherished or not cherished old buildings is argued all over the place, but there may be fixes..
0 Replies
 
 

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