London tower blocks evacuated over fire concerns

Frederick Owens
June 24, 2017

Speaking while attending Armed Forces Day in Liverpool, Theresa May said: "For those Camden blocks, it wasn't just a question of the cladding; there were a number of issues that came together that meant that the fire service were concerned about those blocks and the action was taken by the local authority".

He said officials knocked on residents' doors on Friday night, two hours after he had heard about the evacuation on the news.

Camden Council said it chose to evacuate buildings on the Chalcots Estate late Friday after fire inspectors reported that the blocks were "not safe for people to sleep in overnight".

Fuller said his wife had been informed of the evacuation by the fire department and was told to pack a bag for at least four weeks.

Residents are evacuated from the Taplow residential tower block on the Chalcots Estate, in the borough of Camden, north London, Friday, June 23, 2017.

Emerging into the streets on a hot night, residents clutched children, pets and small amounts of clothing and food to try to find a bed in a local hotel or with family or friends.

The 51-year-old, who has so far refused to leave his first-floor flat, said: "As far as I am concerned, nothing in that building has changed in the last few days, weeks, months or years".

Investigators said they are looking into various aspects of the facade of Grenfell Tower, including the aluminum tiles, the insulation behind them and how the tiles were affixed.

In its most detailed briefing yet on the criminal investigation, the Metropolitan Police on Friday confirmed residents' suspicions that the inferno at Grenfell was touched off by a refrigerator fire.

Much of the early focus has been on the cladding and insulation that are thought to have allowed the blaze to race up the sides of the building after it broke out, leaving many people with no way to escape.

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Refurbishment on the Chalcots Estate evacuated overnight was also overseen by Rydon, the company involved in the refit of Grenfell Tower, according to its website.

Meanwhile, an information point for residents has now been set up at Granville Road at which they are being encouraged to go along and ask questions.

The appliance that started the fire was a Hotpoint FF175BP refrigerator and freezer, McCormack added.

"I've made the really hard decision of moving the people living there into temporary accommodation", said Gould.

The government also urged building owners, public and private, to submit samples of their cladding material for testing, since fears about cladding are not limited to apartment buildings.

Fears about cladding are not limited to apartment buildings.

Thousands have already been evacuated from their homes in Camden, north London, although other local authorities will make their own decisions based on the nature of their area's housing stock. At least one hotel chain is calling in experts to make certain its properties meet safety regulations.

The buildings that have been evacuated have similar cladding to Grenfell, so the council have asked people to leave while it is taken off the buildings.

The fire has become a flashpoint for public anger at the record of May's Conservative Party in government following austerity-driven cuts to local authority budgets. "I do not want there to be any hidden victims of this tragedy".

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