London tower blocks evacuated as 27 buildings fail fire tests

  • London tower blocks evacuated as 27 buildings fail fire tests

London tower blocks evacuated as 27 buildings fail fire tests

The evacuation comes amid widening worries about the safety of high-rise apartment blocks across Britain following the inferno that engulfed Grenfell Tower in west London on June 14, killing at least 79 people.

Some 4,000 residents of the Chalcots Estate in Camden, north London, were told to vacate their apartments on Friday after the Fire Brigade ruled that their tower blocks were unsafe.

25-year-old Ayman Ali, who lives on the ground floor of one the Chalcots towers, said that no one had asked him to evacuate his flat: "I've had no contact from anyone from the council for 24 hours or fire wardens so I chose to stay." .

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

Outside one of the leisure centres, evacuees accused the authorities of sowing "panic".

"They made people panic".

"Whilst we are clear that our cladding design and insulation significantly differs to that at Grenfell Tower, the external cladding panels did not satisfy our independent laboratory testing or the high standards we set for contractors", Gould said in a statement Thursday, adding that the council had made a decision to "immediately begin preparing to remove these external cladding panels".

"It was perfectly safe before, despite what they are saying now - I believe I am safe in there".

Rosie Turner, 27, said she had initially refused to come because of concerns over her nine-week-old baby. "There's no organization and it's chaos", she added.

"There is a real anxiety about whether their housing stock is secure which I know people will be feeling around the city and country".

"The cost we can deal with later", she added.

Police say 79 people are either confirmed or presumed dead in the Grenfell blaze, although that number may change, and it will take weeks to find and identify remains.

Muhammed Abdul Khalid lives in the estate with his family, who spent the night at the leisure centre, including his children, who range in age from 1 to 10.


Around 600 tower blocks are enclosed in potentially deadly cladding, with councils in Manchester, Portsmouth and London all announcing they were to immediately remove cladding from 13 structures.

Fiona McCormack from the London police said that tiles and insulation on the outside of the building "don't pass any safety tests". "We are looking at all health and safety and fire safety offenses, and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower".

"We want to identify all those who died as result of the fire at Grenfell Tower, and that is where I need the public's help", McCormack said.

She said officers had been through all levels of the tower but that the full forensic search could take until the end of the year.

British Prime Minister Theresa May offered a message of sympathy to the affected residents, taking to Twitter to pledge she would work with relevant authorities to offer support.

The burnt out remains of the Grenfell Tower are seen in North Kensington, London, Britain June 20, 2017.

Meanwhile the government ordered immediate checks on the Hotpoint FF175BP fridge freezer model blamed for the blaze.

"I asked the fire services if there was anything I could do, use any resources to make the buildings safe and their answer was categorically no".

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