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London council evacuates residents amid fire safety concerns

25 June 2017

NFPA 285-compliant materials are noncombustible, though Tulsa, Oklahoma, fire engineer John Valiulis told NPR that Minnesota, Indiana, Massachusetts and D.C. have all exempted buildings from the requirement so long as other systems like fire sprinklers are in place.

"As the fire spread the roof of the building was reduced to smouldering wood in about five minutes", George Shankar, a witness said.

Camden council earlier identified a number of tower blocks on the Chalcot's estate that used similar cladding and has begun work to remove the panels.

"So far the cladding from 34 high-rise buildings, in 17 local authority areas, has failed the combustibility test", he added.

"Promising to cut 'red tape, ' business-friendly politicians evidently judged that cost concerns outweighed the risks of allowing flammable materials to be used in facades", the Times wrote.

Britain said Saturday that cladding samples from 27 high-rise apartment blocks - from cities including London, Manchester, Plymouth and Portsmouth - have failed fire safety tests.

Local authorities and the Government are together "making sure the resources are there to ensure what is needed to keep people safe is being done", including finding alternative accommodation for those told to leave their homes, Mrs May said.

Pointing to the decision of Boris Johnson, who as Mayor of London pushed through the closure of ten fire stations - including Belsize which is 500 metres from the Chalcots estate - the firefighter said: "If we hadn't had ten stations cuts we would have 10 to 15 more appliances [fire engines] to provide cover".

"I know it's hard, but Grenfell changes everything", Camden Council chief Georgia Gould told reporters outside a complex of buildings known as Chalcots Estate on Friday.

Stephen Tate, director of district centres and regeneration at Croydon Council, said: "They [the four tower blocks] were our priority and the results have stood as the same [as the other safe blocks]".

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Camden Council in north London, which announced the evacuation Friday night, was the first local government to take the dramatic step of emptying its buildings so safety upgrades could be made.

She said: "When I popped back to my flat this morning to get my medication, I found a letter from Camden Council".

Information points are expected to be set up to keep residents updated.

Officials say they acted because fire officials said they could not guarantee the safety of residents. "We are looking at all health and safety and fire safety offenses, and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower". Prime Minister Theresa May also said the government won't penalize any fire survivors who were in the country illegally.

The Government has ordered an immediate examination of the refrigerator model that started the blaze - the Hotpoint model FF175BP.

Unlike Grenfell Tower the block does contain modern safety features including a sprinkler system, wet risers fireman's lift and smoke evacuation valves.

Last week, the number of people dead or missing presumed dead rose to 79.

McCormack said all "complete bodies" had been removed from the burnt-out tower and there was "a bad reality that we may not find or identify everyone who died due to the intense heat".

According to BBC, Rushanara Ali, member of parliament (MP) for Bethnal Green and Bow, who was at the scene described residents as "anxious given what has happened in Grenfell Tower".

London council evacuates residents amid fire safety concerns