Wednesday, 14 June 2017

West London Tragedy

I don't understand how this terrible fire in west London has spread so rapidly and disastrously. Residents of tower blocks and similar properties of multiple residences, are usually told to stay put in their homes when a fire breaks out in another flat because in concrete and steel buildings like this fire is supposed to be contained and should not spread. So how has this happened? And how has it happened so quickly and devastatingly?

One of the problems with these huge buildings, a legacy of the failed experiment with large tower blocks built in the 60s and 70s, is that there is little heed paid to fire safety amongst residents. When they move into such buildings no information is given about fire safety and what to do in the event of fire.

But the central point is that such tower blocks simply should not catch fire like this. If it was refurbished last year and the refurbishment was in accordance with all of the regulations then are the regulations fit for purpose? There are plenty of stories about the speed and ferocity of the fire spreading through the building. Such buildings tend not to have fire alarm systems and anything other than fire doors and there is little or no information given out about what to do in a fire anyway.

There must be a possibility that this fire was started deliberately using some kind of accelerant, but even if it was it simply should not have spread like this. As ever on these occasions talk will be about resources and cuts. But the fire service has responded quickly and efficiently, the first appliances were on the scene within 6 minutes, there were over 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines on site and there are many tales of bravery and heroism. The building itself was only refurbished last year. This looks more and more like fire regulations that do not work.

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