London fire: Community group warned that catastrophic event was likely

Grenfell tower fire A number of fatalities have been reported after fire tore through a 24-storey London tower block in the early hours of the morning. Forty fire engines and 200 firefighters battled the blaze at Grenfell Tower, which comprises 120 flats, in Latimer Road, White City in West London. Eyewitnesses have described harrowing scenes where people trapped inside the burning building screamed for their children to be saved.

In one instance a baby was caught by a member of the public having been dropped from the 10 th floor. Although the number of fatalities has not been confirmed it looks likely that this morning s fire will comfortably surpass the 2009 Lakanal House blaze, which claimed the lives of six people and injured 20, as London s worst tower block fire in modern times. The fire at the 14-storey Lakanal House has cast a long shadow over UK fire safety. In March, Southwark council was fined 570,000 after accepting it had flouted several fire safety regulations. All local authorities were ordered to review fire safety measures at high-rise blocks in the wake of the tragedy. Residents from blocks surrounding Grenfell Tower are being evacuated as firefighters continue trying to contain the flames Alice Ross (@aliceross_) June 14, 2017 Last year we reported on a spate of high-rise fires in Dubai, but there were no fatalities in each instance. Despite an internationally favourable fire safety record, the UK clearly has no reason for complacency. Built in 1974, Grenfell Tower recently completed a two-year 10m refurbishment. Improvements included new exterior cladding.

The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) manages the tower on behalf of the council. In a chillingly prescient blog published in November 2016, The Greenfell Action Group, appeared to predict that tragedy was all but inevitable. Excoriating the KCTMO for neglecting its fire-safety obligations it wrote: It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders. We believe that the KCTMO are an evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia who have no business to be charged with the responsibility of looking after the every day management of large-scale social housing estates and that their sordid collusion with the RBKC Council is a recipe for a future major disaster. A residents group for Grenfell Tower says these “stay put” fire advice posters were put up in March this year.#LondonFire #NorthKensington Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) June 14, 2017 Unfortunately, the Grenfell Action Group have reached the conclusion that only an incident that results in serious loss of life of KCTMO residents will allow the external scrutiny to occur that will shine a light on the practices that characterise the malign governance of this non-functioning organisation. We believe that the KCTMO have ensured their ongoing survival by the use of proxy votes at their Annual General Meeting that see them returned with a mandate of 98% in favour of the continuation of their inept and highly dangerous management of our homes. It is no coincidence that the 98% is the same figure that is returned by the infamous Kim Jong-un of North Korea who claims mass popularity while reputedly enslaving the general population and starving the majority of his people to death.

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