Thousands evacuated as 27 United Kingdom high-rise towers fail safety test

Frederick Owens
June 24, 2017

The London borough of Camden said it was providing hotel rooms for residents of 800 apartments in high-rise buildings in the area known as Swiss Cottage, after fire authorities said they would be unsafe in case of fire.

Residents were sent to emergency rest centres for the night and will be rehoused in temporary accommodation following an inspection that found the blocks used cladding similar to that on Grenfell Tower where a fire killed at least 79 people.

"I've made the really, really hard decision to move the people living there into temporary accommodation while we do the urgent works to guarantee safety", she told reports.

We're encouraging all residents to stay with friends and family if they can, otherwise we'll provide accommodation.

Police and fire fighters think a covering on the outside of the building called 'cladding' might have helped the fire to spread more quickly. We are taking this action because the safety of our residents comes first.

In a statement posted online, Hotpoint said it was aware of a "possible incident" involving one of its products, and asked its customers to check if they had bought models FF175BP or FF175BG made from March 2006 to July 2009.

Residents from a London estate which has been evacuated in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire have expressed anger and confusion at unexpectedly being told they had to leave their homes.

Chalcots resident Shirley Philips who raised her concerns to Ms Gould said she was given no notice before being told she must leave her home.

Renee Williams, 90, who has lived in Taplow tower since 1968, told Britain's Press Association: "No official came and told us what's going on, I saw it on the TV so I packed an overnight bag".

"Elderly people, babies, pregnant women, mothers, you can imagine - 4,000 people", he said.

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Edward Strange, who lives on the 11th floor of the Taplow Tower, was on his way to the airport when he heard about the evacuation on the radio and returned to find council workers in neon security vests directing residents to a nearby community centre, where they were offered air beds on a badminton court.

Hotpoint said it was working with authorities to examine the appliance, adding "words can not express our sorrow at this awful tragedy".

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.

Cladding tiles had also failed initial tests, she said.

In an update on the Grenfell investigation, Fiona McCormack from the London police said: "We are looking at every criminal offence from manslaughter onwards".

Mr Javid said a review of building and safety regulations would have to be looked at.

Police spokeswoman McCormack said the exterior insulation on the ill-fated building failed safety tests meant to measure its flammability.

However, the insulation material used underneath the panels is made from non-combustible material - which is different to that believed to have been used on Grenfell Tower.

Seventy-nine people have been confirmed dead, or are missing and presumed dead, from the blaze which ripped through the Kensington building. "I do not want there to be any hidden victims of this tragedy".

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