Friday, 16 November, 2018

Three Salford high-rise blocks fail cladding fire tests

Nellie Chapman | 27 June, 2017, 08:19

Authorities in London evacuated roughly 650 apartments in a high-rise complex overnight, citing fears that the complex bore numerous safety issues that Grenfell Tower did.

Cladding samples from 60 high-rise buildings in 25 local authorities across the country have failed fire safety tests ordered by the government after the Grenfell Tower fire.

Sunday's announcement came as samples of exterior panels fitted to high-rise apartments are being tested to see if they are similar to those at London's Grenfell Tower, which was engulfed in an inferno that killed at least 79 people on June 14.

The U.K. government has announced that material used to cover insulation on 27 different buildings throughout England failed fire safety tests, the Guardian reported.

Residents have criticised the chaos the evacuation move has caused to their lives as they are housed in temporary accommodation and hotel rooms acquired by the local council.

"As a precautionary measure to ensure the continued safety of our tenants, One Vision Housing have taken the decision to remove the cladding from the two blocks with immediate effect, to allow for further investigations", it added.

Speaking to reporters outside the leisure centre on Sunday, Ms Gould said she was going to personally go knock on doors in the estate to persuade people to leave. Around 200 firefighters and 20 fire trucks have been deployed to tackle the blaze as rescue workers try to evacuate the building in Lancaster West Estate in North Kensington.

Camden, where an entire estate housing about 4,000 people was being evacuated over the weekend, and Sunderland, share the greatest number, with five towers each.

Though the fires started in a refrigerator, the cladding is suspected to have fueled its rapid spread to other parts of the building.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said all 34 samples tested didn't meet fire safety standards.

The so-called combustibility test has been failed by every building tested so far, Mr Javid said.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said the authority took the "extraordinary action" to clear 600 flats because "we are really clear that those four blocks are not safe".

All "complete bodies" have been removed from the wreckage but there remains "a awful reality that we may not find or identify everyone who died due to the intense heat", she said.

The Chalcots estate was refurbished between 2006 and 2009 by Rydon, the same firm that oversaw work on Grenfell Tower in 2015 and 2016.

Hospitals and schools will also be tested to make sure they are not encased in combustible cladding, he told the House of Commons.

However if cladding fails the test the LGA has said that residents won't necessarily have to leave their homes, but don't rule it out completely saying: "Where cladding fails the test, this will not necessarily mean moving residents from tower blocks".