The awful tragedy unfolding this morning in one of the nations richest neigborhoods of a high rise tower block called Grenfell Tower which as this picture shows is burning out of control is already being seen through the lens of reports from tenants who were concerned about the fire risk. That despite a two year £10M upgrade to the heating system and external cladding, carried out on behalf of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) who run the building on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea Council. A blog written by a group of tenants whose homes are in the building explained how the block constituted a fire risk and warned that access to the site for emergency vehicles was “severely restricted”. It states “In the last twenty years and despite the terrifying power surge incident in 2013 and recent fire at Adair Tower, the residents of Grenfell Tower have received no proper fire safety instructions from the KCTMO. Residents were informed by a temporary notice stuck in the lift and one announcement in a recent regeneration newsletter that they should remain in their flats in the event of fire.”
One big question must surely be how many other such potential death traps are there across the nation? It is vital as a result of this tragedy that all such blocks are re-checked in terms of the fire prevention mechanisms and evacuation instructions. In such circumstances and with the reports of people being trapped in the building, this is something that must be of concern to many people living in similar buildings across the UK. As with the recent terrorist events, the courage of the police, fire and ambulance services in dealing with such a terrible event cannot be underestimated and shines through what is otherwise a very dark period in our society. Thank goodness we have such brave people working for us.