Posts Tagged ‘Grenfell Tower’

House of Cards portent of things to come

June 18, 2017

House of Cards 1993.

Grenfell Tower 2017.

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Grenfell Tower fire

June 16, 2017

Grenfell Action Group

Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon (5am) to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences to all who have perished, to the injured, to those who are bereaved or are still searching for missing loved ones.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC.

ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time. Below is a list of links to previous blogs we posted on this site trying to warn the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who own this property, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council’s behalf:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/fire-safety-scandal-at-lancaster-west/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/

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Grenfell Tower

June 15, 2017

It is difficult to imagine anything more terrifying than being caught in a fire in a tower block knowing you are going to be burnt alive.

Fires do not just happen. Someone drops a burning cigarette, a faulty appliance.

With a tower block, there are additional problems, how to get out, the stairwells acting as chimneys which helps the fire.

With Grenfell Tower, cladding had been fitted. If there are gaps between the cladding and the structure of the building then additional chimneys are formed.

There are reports of cladding which is metal sheets held away from the structure with wood, infilled with polystyrene. If true, we would have polystyrene as a hazardous material, which is inflammable, which gives off highly toxic fumes.

What is shocking is the speed at which the fire spread and engulfed the building. Even more shocking that residents had been warning of the dangers.

There had also been similar tower block fires, with lessons not learnt.

Kensington has put management of the tower block into the hands of an arm-length management company,

Four Executives at KCTMO allegedly ‘managing’ Grenfell Tower paid £125,000 each.

Tenants complained about the building, the management company, the shoddy refurbishment, a tragedy waiting to happen. They would have taken legal action, but cuts to legal aid made this impossible.

Tenants who complained, were threatened with legal action.

This is no uncommon. Tenants on slum estates in Aldershot have got nowhere with their complaints about shoddy housing, lack of repair. The useless local councillors fail to act, the housing association engages in harassment of more vocal tenants.

In local government, and that is not unique to Kensington, there is a complete lack of local accountability.

Tories blocked amendment to housing legislation to improve conditions for tenants.

Tory cuts to councils has not helped, nor cuts to Fire Services.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn paid a visit today.

Theresa May stayed long enough for a photo shoot with firemen.

Jeremy Corbyn stayed and talked to local people.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also visited and talked to local people.

If houses are vacant for six months, they can be seized by local councils.

For Kensington, foreigners are laundering dirty money to buy property that then sits empty.

This should be seized, if need be, emergency legislation passed to enable the property to be seized.

Squatters should seize the empty properties, then open to those made destitute.

This was already happening in Kensington before the fire.

Those who failed to act, must be charged with corporate manslaughter.

This was not a natural disaster or an act of God, this was man made.

When the government said they wanted a bonfire of red tape, we now know what they meant.

The price of austerity is not only food banks, it is incinerated bodies in a tower block.

In This Changes Everything, with reference to Hurricane Katrina, Naomi Klein discusses how cuts have consequences.

When Sandy hit New York, it was Occupy Sandy that organised all the relief work, officialdom was absent, their only concern to get Wall Street up and running to show the world it was business as usual.