The London tower fire engulfing the entire 24 story building will, unfortunately, have casualties. The sad news broke as the Met made confirmation. The Met department did not reveal the cause of the incident.
The Mayor on London Tower Fire Incident
Talking to media on London tower fire incident the Mayor, Sadiq Khan said that authorities had declared it as a “Major Incident.” The Mayor stated that the administration would need to find answers to many questions.
The London Mayer also said that people were given wrong advice by the building’s management to stay indoors. Fortunately, he said that people did not listen to this advice of staying indoors.
The Mayor also stated that he wants to know why the firefighters were not able to reach the top floors. The most affected top floors were not accessible to the firefighters.
The Mayor said that the effort to extinguish fire involved 250 firefighters, 40 fire engines, 100 medics and 100 police officers.
The Newsletter Sent to Residents in 2014
The management of the building did send the inhabitants a newsletter back in 2014. The letter asked the residents to stay put and do not leave the building unless being told.
The newsletter also claimed at the time that the building was designed by following rigorous fire safety standards. Furthermore, the letter argued that the doors can withstand fires for up to 30 minutes, enough time for the fire brigade to arrive.
Total Number of People Taken to Hospitals
After the incident of London tower fire, latest reports tell around 50 people were taken to different hospitals. The people taken to hospital have varying degrees of burns on their bodies. The authorities will only announce the number of casualties once they can confirm an exact number.
Potential Fire Hazard Warnings
The blog by Grenfell Action Group had given warnings of a possible fire in the building as early as 2013. A new development back then of KALC resulted in the loss of Lancaster Road car-park. This new construction resulted in blocking road access to the Grenfell Tower.
Hence, there was an increase in traffic on Grenfell Road. The Grenfell Road is single and a very narrow, making it difficult for commuters to travel through it. The blog entry on January 28th, 2013 argued that the narrowing of this passage could block access in case of a severe fire emergency.
Grenfell Tower Fire Assessment Shared
The Grenfell Group also shares an earlier fire assessment shared in a blog entry dated February 21st, 2013. Let us review the summary of the fire risk assessment for the tower provided by the TMO.
There is a third party responsible for maintaining different systems in the building. However, there are no test certificates available. The TMO cannot ascertain if the caretaker of the building is undertaking occupier’s monthly tests for fire extinguishers, lighting systems, and structural items.
London Tower Fire – A Bit About the Building
The building known as Grenfell Tower was constructed back in 1974. Grenfell Tower makes part of over 1000 homes social housing complex by Lancaster West Estate. The building underwent an overhaul of a costly £10m over a period of two years.
The building revamping included work on communal heating system and exterior cladding. The 24-storey building has over 120 flats. Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization currently manages the building.
Despite so many repeated warnings by the Grenfell Action Group about the potential risk hazards, KCTMO did not take any action. Similarly, authorities did not pay any heed to the accessibility issues which may have added to the number of casualties.
A Report of London Assembly on Building Safety
Here are some startling revelations from a London Assembly report published back in December 2010. The report suggests a significant presence of high-rise buildings in London. At the time of publishing of the report, there were over 30,000 tall residential buildings with 300,000 private flats. These buildings were home to over 527,000 Londoners.
Use of Sustainable Materials Puts Pressure on Fire Safety Measures
The report stated that more of the building construction companies were using sustainable materials. The sustainability factor made timber a better alternate so that wood would become a popular choice. It meant that more of the developers required to use wood for construction of buildings. However, the report had urged the Mayor to ensure building developers use “extra-statutory fire safety” measures.
Role of London’s Mayor as Discussed by London Assembly Report
The London Assembly pointed towards London’s Mayor as an important person responsible for taking care of the fire safety measures. Here is how the London Mayor can ensure that construction industry follows fire safety standards.
- The Mayor of London is the person setting budget and strategy to ensure the provision of fire prevention services within the city.
- The Mayor appoints the team of 17 members of London Fire Safety and Emergency Planning Authority. London Assembly recommends eight members, London Boroughs select seven names, and two come from Mayoral appointees.
- The Mayor of London can impact fire safety standards through implementation of Plan14 and LFEPA. These plans touch points like building quality, design, and density which can affect fire safety.
- Similarly, the Mayor of London can exercise his powers as Chair of the Homes and Communities Agency London to encourage fire prevention. He may use these powers to ensure additional security measures are in place like the use of fire sprinklers.