At least 12 dead after fire guts London high-rise where residents complained about safety for years


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/06/14/6-dead-after-inferno-guts-lond.html


#2

(S) I am sure that the new Tory minority government will be all over investigating this failure of market forces to keep the residents of the tower safe (/S)


#3

Fucking horrible


#4

I had a similar thought. This kind of thing is exactly why all that “regulation just slows the economy” talk is so morally bankrupt. Good thing they hadn’t finished de-funding the fire department.


#5

The Tories aren’t suicidal. Thy know the Fire Brigades Union wouldn’t let them do that and they don’t want another strike like the one in 2002-3. They are one of the more left wing unions in the UK, they disaffiliated from the Labour party in 2004 in protest against Tony Blair’s policies and only reaffiliated when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader.


#6

No, but they will get as close to cutting their own throats as they can before stopping, with the risk that the throat will get cut before they back off. They HAVE been defunding fire brigades for a long time. Not having forced a strike for 15 years is more luck and circumstance (Tory strike legislation, for one) than judgement.


#7

There are almost 7,000 fewer firefighters in England than five years ago, leading to longer response times and a 25% fall in the number of fire prevention visits, according to the latest Home Office figures published last month.

The reduction in the number of firefighters and staff employed by the fire rescue services to 42,300 has been more than matched by a long-term fall in fire deaths from more than 750 a year in the early 1980s to 264 in 2014-15.

However, the number of fire-related deaths rose to 303 last year – a 15% increase – bringing the downward trend to an end.

The number of uniformed firefighters stood at 34,400 in 2015-16 compared with 41,202 in 2010-11 – a fall of 6,802.

The Home Office figures show that the fire service carried out 581,000 home fire risk checks in 2015-16 - 25% less than five years earlier. The 63,000 fire safety audits of non-domestic premises last year, also down 25% compared with five years ago.

From the Guardian live feed


#8

There have been strikes, just not big national ones that last for days.

Not yet, anyway. The Tories are weak now, we will see what happens.


#9

Remember, all those inconvenient PITA fire marshal regulations that people (including the sitting president) complain about are there for a REASON. And the reason is usually that people have died because those rules were ignored. When they investigate fatal fires, they rarely find new things that can be done to prevent fatalities. usually what they discover is well established rules were ignored because they were inconvenient.


#10

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/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/more-on-fire-safety/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/another-fire-safety-scandal/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/kctmo-feeling-the-heat/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/why-are-we-waiting/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/grenfell-tower-from-bad-to-worse/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/more-trouble-at-grenfell-tower/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/the-disempowered-of-grenfell-tower/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/tmo-still-asleep-at-the-wheel


#11

Ugh. Sorry to hear. Hope the loss is at a minimum.


#12

Market forces deliver profit to capitalists, not safety to tenants.


#13

The management “institution” is a “limited company limited by guarantee” - I’m not familiar with that.

But Wikipedia makes it appear it’s not got proper shareholders.

I was thinking greedy landlords doing a cheap refurb; but it might simply be incompetent councillors cutting corners and costs.

See the way that external cladding burned? The unclad building would not have done that. You’d think that cladding would have undergone sun-heat tests.


#14

It looks like it will be bad, but lives were saved because the Muslim residents were up late because of Ramadam


#15

the baby falling from height reminds me of this iconic photo from 1975.


#16

Am i alone in finding it strange that they’re comparing, indicated by the bolded parts, a reduction in firefighters over the time period of 2012-2017 to a reduction in fire deaths over the time period 1980-2015?


#17

#18

Apparently the cladding is a particular type, made cheaply in China, which is known for being very unsafe when it catches fire. There was a similar case (thankfully no fatalitied but cladding went up in flames frighteningly fast and up many storeys) in Melbourne, Australia two or so years ago.

Disclaimer: I don’t know this: reporting what many firefighter friends have been saying about the Grenfell fire.


#19

Lovely…: Theresa May’s chief of staff ‘sat on’ report warning high-rise blocks like Grenfell Tower were vulnerable to fire


#20

My working theory of what caused the fire, based upon a bit of safety experience and research:

In 2013, residents reported massive “power surges” throughout the entire building, causing smoking outlets and destroyed electronics and appliances. This is a classic symptom of ground arcing due to a loose neutral in the building electrical system. A loose neutral is a severe fire hazard that can cause unbalanced loads, burned-off insulation, eventually leading to 1000-degree F (600-degree C) flashovers.

Additionally, the water pumps were reported tripping off, leading me to believe that the pumps may have been recently replaced with newer models that drew more current across lower-rated wiring and may have caused voltage sag. The voltage sag would increase the oxidization cycle of loose neutrals, thereby heating wires and carbonizing insulation. They should have checked every single outlet and breaker box in that building.

Initial reports from the site spoke of a resident who said they had a refrigerator “explode,” causing the fire to spread rapidly. This could have been hyperbole about an arc from a power outlet due to compressor loading. Or it could have literally exploded, if the refrigerator was recently replaced with a “bought on the cheap” green-energy unit that was leaking isobutane or propane as its refrigerant gas.

The fire would have then rapidly combusted upward along the ceiling, spreading outward, breaking windows due to intense heat and caught the outside cladding on fire along the edge of the building between the concrete fascia and the aluminum panels, which was likely a cheap foam insulation cited in numerous high-rise fires. The insulation would have vaporized the aluminum at high heat and fed the fire as it progressed up the outside of the building into the units.

Residents reported problems with the fire safety system, and no fire alarms or or sprinklers were activated at the time of the fire. Either the sprinklers had not been replaced or there were no sprinklers to begin with. Sprinklers would have helped with damage-control to the structure, but would have made little difference if residents couldn’t get out of the burning building. There were also reports of a lack of fire exits and inadequate stairwell lighting.

All in all, a perfect storm of regulatory corner-cutting. Read the Grenfell residents’ activist blog: eye-opening the problems they had prior to the fire. Now a horrific nightmarish monument to the corruption of the wealthy, in one of the richest neighborhoods in London with some of the greatest income disparity.

This whole thing reminds me of the Triangle Factory Fire in NYC that led to the New York Fire Code model. IN THE YEAR 1911. It appears the richest among us are too lazy to learn. And too stupid to listen.

See information below for industrial and fire reports with similar behaviors, especially the last link:

POWER SURGES, ELECTRICAL APPLIANCE FAILURE, PUMP FAILURE CAUSING GROUND ARCS?

GROUND ARC FIRES CAUSED BY LOOSE NEUTRAL:

CASE SAMPLE EXPLANATIONS OF LOOSE NEUTRAL SYMPTOMS AND FIRE:
http://ra.panamax.com/pdf/powersurgePQ.pdf

http://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive/All-HTML/HTML/Multipoint-Utility-Neutral-Problem-House-Burns-to-Ground~20040506.php

REFRIGERATOR THE CAUSE OF FIRE?

FLAMMABLE CLADDING DOESN’T MEET FIRE CODE OR INTERNAL SPRINKLERS ARE INADEQUATE :

EDIT: spelling and links