Horrific Fire in London



  • Not sure if you guys in the other hemisphere have caught up with this but it looks like scenes from the Towering Inferno.
    Death toll sure to rise.

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-fire-dramatic-images-show-devastating-impact-as-blaze-engulfs-27storey-grenfell-tower-in-a3564566.html





  • Its amazing that they're only reporting 6 deaths. That is still unacceptable, but looking at the photos, that's a minor miracle.



  • I'm astonished; that's what fire stairs are for.



  • @NTA said in Horrific Fire in London:

    Its amazing that they're only reporting 6 deaths. That is still unacceptable, but looking at the photos, that's a minor miracle.

    That's all they've found so far but looking at the photos and reading breaking news it is unlikely they've got very far into the building yet. It's bloody awful.



  • @Catogrande good point. Suppose its a bit premature to report on the "missing, feared dead" side.

    @antipodean - think I heard the smoke alarms weren't in great shape.

    Also will say, that as someone who is a fire warden in their place of work, I know people are very lackadaisical about fire drill knowledge. I'm assuming that they didn't bother running fire drills in a residential apartment, and not many people think about it anyway.



  • From the little I have read it the whole building has just been renovated and modernized. Smoke alarms shouldn't have been a problem.
    The reason the residents group had concerns was that while work was going on the access to exits was limited and the mitigation to that risk thought up by some clever person was to tell everyone to stay where they were unless directly affected therefore reducing the numbers trying to exit.
    Because this fire took hold and spread so quick residents didn't know they were affected until too late so by following instructions they remained in place.
    IF all that is true then someone has a very poorly thought out plan to answer to AND whoever dismissed the obvious flaws that were pointed out needs to answer why.



  • Bloody hell looks like there were a few warnings alright
    https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com



  • @Rembrandt It is beginning to look like a rancid can of worms that has been opened by this catastrophe. If culpable I sincerely hope heads roll and not just some bloody scapegoats either. The council should also be held to account and by that I mean actual people.



  • @NTA I know only too well how casual residents can be in apartment buildings. Every time I hear our alarm go off I wait to see if it will be turned off and only after a while do I go out into the foyer to see if there's smoke. But at least I know where the fire exits are and how quickly I could find them even if obscured.



  • @antipodean said in Horrific Fire in London:

    @NTA I know only too well how casual residents can be in apartment buildings. Every time I hear our alarm go off I wait to see if it will be turned off and only after a while do I go out into the foyer to see if there's smoke. But at least I know where the fire exits are and how quickly I could find them even if obscured.

    We had a fire in a next door building to our office which resulted in the Fire Service being called and the fire alarm raised. Our office is in the ground floor and there are flats above. We evacuated the building but did not see any of the residents appearing. Two of us went back in the building (after assessing risk) to knock on doors and what have you so see one resident wandering around in his slippers trying to turn of the alarm because it was noisy.



  • This is horrific. Here's the fire safety poster advising them to stay put
    https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/kctmo-feeling-the-heat/

    How the hell does this get ignored for so long? Seems almost too incredible to have this much notice of the problems as well as vivid descriptions of this catastrophe in advance.

    Definitely a wake up call for all apartment dwellers. Our evacuation alarm went off the other day and a tenant just disabled it with a key that is left in the alarm lock, there is a load of flashing warning lights I assumed the bodycorp would have it fixed by now, bloody stupid even for me to have not chased it up by now.



  • The more I'm reading, the more I'd like to see the building owner and whoever the overseers were spending tonight in a cell...



  • Just watching a live news broadcast now and the fucker is still burning away.
    A lot of contradictory stories coming out but that is understandable in such a situation.



  • wow, just wow, so horrific for all those involved.

    How a block like that can go up like that and so quickly is just mid boggling in this day and age, surely points ot sub-standard materials and work and then poor systems.

    And the reports of people jumping or dropping kids, is hard to even comprehend making that decision, roll the dice on surviving the fall or certain death by staying, just heartbreaking!



  • @taniwharugby that is what is most shocking to me, how fast the whole building went up in flames. It's an old building but you'd hope with the renovations the materials used would be a consideration? I am really clueless when it comes to building standards but I assume both the building owners and the council will be held accountable for this.



  • @No-Quarter said in Horrific Fire in London:

    @taniwharugby that is what is most shocking to me, how fast the whole building went up in flames. It's an old building but you'd hope with the renovations the materials used would be a consideration? I am really clueless when it comes to building standards but I assume both the building owners and the council will be held accountable for this.

    The managers are saying everything was signed off according to regs.
    There is speculation that the type of cladding (something over polystyrene type base) shot the fire upwards but an architect was saying it was more likely that's were created that made a chimney type effect and sucked it.



  • be a far few managers scouring through old emails and files hoping to find something that doesn't tie them in this catastrophe.
    Might be one or 2 breaking out the office shreader too



  • Poor damn fire fighters! What an awful day at work for them. Must be one of the toughest jobs.



  • @Hooroo said in Horrific Fire in London:

    Poor damn fire fighters! What an awful day at work for them. Must be one of the toughest jobs.

    Yeah, they must have felt absolutely helpless. You could see them blasting their hoses as high as they could but it was completely ineffective in the face of that massive blaze. That'll haunt them for the rest of their lives 😞



  • Nightmarish stuff.

    When I lived in Oslo I often visited a mate of mine who lived in a building like this. The fire alarm went off a couple of times and he didn't give a shit. We would have been truly Friar Tucked if there actually was a fire. I also worked in an older building which had to be evacuated at least once a month due to fire alarms. If it hadn't been for the safety reps nobody would have moved.

    This incident shows you can never be too careful with fire safety.



  • Our nightmare - 24th floor of a 48 floor high rise, although we have sprinklers,
    fire stairs, and lots of concrete with (supposedly) hard to burn materials. This sounds like they fucked up the material they used in the refit, which appears to have made things worse - while people were told to stay inside.



  • @gt12 said in Horrific Fire in London:

    while people were told to stay inside.

    You are kidding me????? Oh no, what an awful decision someone made



  • @gt12 said in Horrific Fire in London:

    while people were told to stay inside.

    Yeah, that's the bit I can't get my head around.



  • I think isn't that in the case if the building is supposedly constructed properly, and the fire will not spread, or should not spread as rapidly as that one did, therefore to avoid panic?

    Sounds daft to me and goes against natural instinct to be told to stay inside your flat while your building is on fire, but I think there is supposed to be some reasoning behind it?



  • @taniwharugby I genuinely can't think of one. Fire climbs, so it's best to get beneath it. Fire stairs are supposed to be fire-rated, whereas your apartment isn't.



  • @antipodean just going by what I have read/been reported, as I said, not something I would think is the best idea...



  • @antipodean said in Horrific Fire in London:

    @taniwharugby I genuinely can't think of one. Fire climbs, so it's best to get beneath it. Fire stairs are supposed to be fire-rated, whereas your apartment isn't.

    We have the same advice at my work - however this building is very modern and if fire is detected on a particular floor, then fire curtains immediately come down to contain it to one area. That floor is then evacuated first before evacuating the other floors.

    In this case it appears on the face of it to be really, really bad advice - keeping your doors closed (as it states on their fire safety notice) is absurd and will never keep you safe from a fire.



  • I get the concept - if the doors are fire resistant the smoke might be the biggest danger. But whoever issues the advice would need to have a plan that they were confident would get the residents out, wouldn't they?



  • @No-Quarter @taniwharugby

    An old building (sometime in the mid 70's) but refurbed in 2015. It is owned by the local council, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, but they outsource management to a private contractor, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation. The cynic in me suggests that whoever wins the tender to oversee the council's properties is chosen mainly down to budget and it might be difficult to make ends meet on such tight margins. It reminds me of a quote from John Glen in relation tore-entering the Earth's atmosphere for the first time - something along the lines of "All I could think of was that each component of my spacecraft had been supplied by the cheapest contractor".



  • Some stuff coming out now which is just staggering. All courtesy of the BBC:-

    Construction firm Rydon, which carried out the refurbishment, initially said in a statement that the work met "all fire regulations" - the wording was omitted in a later statement.

    The block - which was built in 1974 - did not have a sprinkler system. Under current law, all new residential blocks over 30m high must have sprinkler systems fitted. There is no legal requirement for local authorities to retrofit sprinklers to tower blocks. Ronnie King, honorary secretary of the All-Party Fire Safety and Rescue Group, told LBC there were about 4,000 tower blocks that did not have fire sprinklers fitted into them. He said after the fire in Lakanal House there had been a "recommendation, which was down to each local council and landlords to determine the appropriateness" of the lack of fire sprinklers in some blocks.

    Some residents have also reported not hearing fire alarms. Alarms will often go off only on the floor affected, according to fire expert Elfyn Edwards.



  • Open the pics



  • @Catogrande said in Horrific Fire in London:

    Some stuff coming out now which is just staggering. All courtesy of the BBC:-

    Construction firm Rydon, which carried out the refurbishment, initially said in a statement that the work met "all fire regulations" - the wording was omitted in a later statement.

    The block - which was built in 1974 - did not have a sprinkler system. Under current law, all new residential blocks over 30m high must have sprinkler systems fitted. There is no legal requirement for local authorities to retrofit sprinklers to tower blocks. Ronnie King, honorary secretary of the All-Party Fire Safety and Rescue Group, told LBC there were about 4,000 tower blocks that did not have fire sprinklers fitted into them. He said after the fire in Lakanal House there had been a "recommendation, which was down to each local council and landlords to determine the appropriateness" of the lack of fire sprinklers in some blocks.

    Some residents have also reported not hearing fire alarms. Alarms will often go off only on the floor affected, according to fire expert Elfyn Edwards.

    Going to be interesting how this pans out.
    If the cladding was legal, if the work undertaken was done to spec and signed off by the council then who do they prosecute?
    What's really scary for people over there and other parts of the world is how much of this product is out there.
    Not all will be wrapped around a 40 year old tower block with no sprinklers, dodgy fire systems and lax safety guidelines. But still.
    Sounds like it was a perfect mix of what could go wrong did go wrong.
    So heads roll, the council? Or does it go all the way back to the manufacturor of the cladding.



  • @Virgil said in Horrific Fire in London:

    @Catogrande said in Horrific Fire in London:

    Some stuff coming out now which is just staggering. All courtesy of the BBC:-

    Construction firm Rydon, which carried out the refurbishment, initially said in a statement that the work met "all fire regulations" - the wording was omitted in a later statement.

    The block - which was built in 1974 - did not have a sprinkler system. Under current law, all new residential blocks over 30m high must have sprinkler systems fitted. There is no legal requirement for local authorities to retrofit sprinklers to tower blocks. Ronnie King, honorary secretary of the All-Party Fire Safety and Rescue Group, told LBC there were about 4,000 tower blocks that did not have fire sprinklers fitted into them. He said after the fire in Lakanal House there had been a "recommendation, which was down to each local council and landlords to determine the appropriateness" of the lack of fire sprinklers in some blocks.

    Some residents have also reported not hearing fire alarms. Alarms will often go off only on the floor affected, according to fire expert Elfyn Edwards.

    Going to be interesting how this pans out.
    If the cladding was legal, if the work undertaken was done to spec and signed off by the council then who do they prosecute?
    What's really scary for people over there and other parts of the world is how much of this product is out there.
    Not all will be wrapped around a 40 year old tower block with no sprinklers, dodgy fire systems and lax safety guidelines. But still.
    Sounds like it was a perfect mix of what could go wrong did go wrong.
    So heads roll, the council? Or does it go all the way back to the manufacturor of the cladding.

    Like all of these things there will be a huge investigation that can't find any one fault or person to pin it on and everyone will go merrily on their way.
    I get that guidelines were followed but those guidelines didn't write themselves. Somewhere someone signed them off for use that has proven to be totally inadequate.



  • Yup just look at the CTV building collapse at the 2011 quake, over 100 died. Big concerns about its structural integrity and if it had a design flaw.
    6 years on and no one has ever been charged or even seriously investigated for and failings. Gets brought up from time to time but nothing comes of it.



  • I would imagine the council set the rules and the construction company made the best of them. No one will look good but few if any heads will roll



  • @Virgil they were saying there are buildings in NZ with this cladding too.

    I'm not a designer, inventor or anything flash like that, but you woulda thought when making a product for buildings such as these, being fire retardant would be a key thing to be testing, no?

    It defies belief that a product would not go through rigorous fire/heat testing before being allowed on the market. I mean even if looking at shortcuts to keep costs down, this is still a key ingredient when you are selling the product!

    Surely not a 'whats the worst that could happen' shrug when testers say this will burn quickly.

    In another thread I mentioned there are insulation products in the NZ market, and some local councils will not approve building consents when that product is used, but some will....



  • Installation of the cladding could still have been a factor and if that's the case then someone will get the finger pointed. From what has been said this cladding is insulation with a waterproof shell attached. There is a gap between the two and witnesses say that once the fire took hold it shot up and out presumably through the gap and the draw of air through it.
    When the product is installed it is meant to have some "fire strips" put in place to stop this draft effect from happening. If they weren't there.....
    The cladding certainly looks to the untrained eye as a major contributor though. It is how a small fire spread around a building and by-passed all the other fire safety measures.



  • Often the impact of such stories falls away after a few days... but this is one of those where I feel no less a sense of helpless frustration and sheer fury than I did on day one. I've never lived in an apartment, so I just took things like sprinklers, working alarms, and messages to not sit and wait as a given.



  • @Crucial said in Horrific Fire in London:

    Installation of the cladding could still have been a factor and if that's the case then someone will get the finger pointed. From what has been said this cladding is insulation with a waterproof shell attached. There is a gap between the two and witnesses say that once the fire took hold it shot up and out presumably through the gap and the draw of air through it.
    When the product is installed it is meant to have some "fire strips" put in place to stop this draft effect from happening. If they weren't there.....
    The cladding certainly looks to the untrained eye as a major contributor though. It is how a small fire spread around a building and by-passed all the other fire safety measures.

    Studied a wee bit of this during engineering undergrad, and yep that's basically it.

    There will always be a gap between original outer wall and cladding (in fact, there is supposed to be one to improve insulation / prevent damp). This creates a chimney effect in a fire which is very effective at spreading flames. This is supposed to be mitigated by fire break around every external window/balcony and between each floor. The fire breaks are supposed to bridge the air gap and penetrate right through the cladding to the outer facade. It looks as though these were not in place at Grenfell, which is criminally negligent.

    As for the flammability of the cladding, there will always be different options that are more or less fire-retardant, and commensurately more or less expensive. No prizes for guessing what they wen't with in this refit, given its social housing owned by a cash-strapped council, and managed by a for-profit private company.

    Horrendous.


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