Residents' blog warned of Grenfell Tower fire risk

Grenfell Tower Block Fire

A chilling blog written seven months ago by residents of Grenfell Tower claimed that only a “catastrophic event” would highlight the “dangerous living conditions” at the 24-storey block.
 
Survivors of the disaster told journalists that they had raised a host of concerns about the risk of fire – particularly that there was only one escape route – but they were “brushed away” by the council’s tenant management organisation.
 
They said fire risk concerns about the placement of boilers and gas pipes; the absence of a building-wide fire alarm or sprinkler system; and piles of rubbish being dumped were ignored by Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).
 
In November, the Grenfell Action Group published on its blog site: “The Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO.”
 
The Guardian has reported that it has discovered KCTMO placed fire safety issues across its estate under review and ordered a number of changes to the way it handles fire risk in its properties.
 
It said it would tackle hoarding and clutter in communal areas and speed up installation of self-closing doors.
 
Investigators are now examining the cause of the fire at the west London block and how it swept so quickly up the building, which appears to have spread by a cladding system installed last year.
 
Construction experts have ordered a review of dozens of similar refurbishment projects involving recladding in recent years. It is understood around a dozen towers are now under review.
 
Fire safety experts and firefighters have voiced concern over the alarming speed at which the fire swept across the new polyester powder-coated aluminium facade, which was installed to improve the building appearance and insulation.
 
Mike Penning, former fire minister in David Cameron’s government, said: “I don’t think we have seen this sort of fire in the UK before.
 
“We have to check if the existing regulations have been adhered to and it looks to me, from a distance, that that may not be the case.”

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