London towers being evacuated over fire safety fears: authorities

Smoke and flames billows from Grenfell Tower as firefighters attempt to control a blaze at a residential block of flats in West London

Residents leave the Taplow Tower residential block on the Chalcots Estate in north London on Friday as it is evacuated because of fire safety concerns.

Residents are to be evacuated from a tower block in Camden, north London, to allow "urgent fire safety works" to take place, local council leader Georgia Gould said.

"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", Gould told reporters outside the public housing complex.

Asif Hussain said: "When they rang the number that was written on the letter even as late as 12.30, they weren't told, they didn't know where they were going, they had to pack their bags, get ready to go but they didn't know where".

The speed at which the fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower raised questions about the external cladding on the block.

Local residents gather outside Swiss Cottage Central Library as council provide temp accommodation. Fourteen apartment blocks have so far tested positive for combustible materials.

But in the statement he stressed "cladding itself is not dangerous" and that a failure in testing does not necessarily mean a building will be evacuated.

Many residents complained that they only found out about the evacuation through television and were not properly informed.

"Why was it put through my door and not knocked on my door to tell me we were being evacuated?" "Or at least we should be given the choice. We want our fire station back".

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 made a decision to stay." .

Pilgrim Tucker, an organiser working with Grenfell Action Group and in contact with residents at the hotel said: "It's beyond disgusting that after all these people have been through - losing their neighbours and watching their homes burn to the ground - authorities are prepared to tell them that they have hours to pick up their bags and move to some unknown destination, separated from their friends and neighbours".




"The work to make the blocks safe is expected to take three to four weeks".

The Metropolitan Police have said manslaughter, health and safety, and fire safety charges will be considered.

"We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards", Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters.

An in-depth look at the causes of the Grenfell Tower blaze by the New York Times detailed how in the United Kingdom, a "drive by successive governments from both major political parties to free businesses from the burden of safety regulations" allowed the tower's owners to swaddle the outside of the building in a highly flammable aluminum and polyethylene cladding.

"Words can not express our sorrow at this awful tragedy", Whirlpool said in a statement.

When asked about the emails, Arconic said in a statement that it had known the panels would be used at Grenfell Tower but that it was not its role to decide what was or was not compliant with local building regulations.

. "The initial tests on equivalent aluminum composite tiles failed the safety tests".

Michelle Urquhart, who has been living in the Chalcots Estate's Bray tower, said the situation was "frightening". Samples from 14 buildings in London, Manchester and Plymouth have already been found to be combustible.

Last week, it emerged that Grenfell contractors had used a more flammable type of material for the outer layer of the cladding, which Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, said was banned in Britain.

"I remain really concerned though that we do not have a complete picture", she said. McCormack acknowledged they might not know everyone who was in the building as some people might fear coming forward because they were in the country illegally.

Survivors of the fire along with victims' families and emergency workers, who worked on the blaze, will also be invited to watch the 6 August game at Wembley.

Heartbreaking messages written on red London Fire Brigade T-shirts offer poignant tributes alongside flowers, toys and candles at the shrine. Grenfell Tower is located in Kensington, one of the richest boroughs in Europe. Why were hotels not looked at before we were all evacuated? "So, let's go down, have a discussion and we'll find somewhere for you".

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