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14th Jun 2017

Members of the Grenfell Tower residents association repeatedly raised concerns about fire safety

Paul Moore

“Fire safety concerns were not investigated during the regeneration works.” This interview is very telling.

As of yet, the London Fire Brigade haven’t found the cause for the fire at Grenfell Tower which tragically took the lives of 12 people – a figure that the Met Police sadly “believe will increase.”

The official stance is as follows: “The cause of the fire is not known at this stage and clearly we will be here all day and will be providing further updates, working with the Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service. There will be an investigation but at this stage I do not want to speculate about the cause of the fire or what has caused it to spread in the way that it did. We will be working with all agencies, including the local authority to support all of those affected by this incident.”

This being said, there have been countless interviews from residents of the area that have seriously questioned the maintenance of the building. People have also asked the most important question, why weren’t their demands for improved living conditions and safety standards answered?

With this in mind, the BBC’s interview with David Collins, a member of the Grenfell Tower residents association, is probably the most telling one yet.

He says: “We repeatedly reported concerns to tenant management organisations for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, including fire safety concerns which were not investigated during the regeneration works.”

David also states that residents had repeatedly raised concerns about the fire safety standards in the building.

He said that tenants had “concerns over locations of boilers, concerns about escape, fire escape lighting…and the list goes on. Lots of things. I’ve spoke to Councillors and they refused to investigate. They didn’t believe the residents were concerned. 90% of the residents signed an independent petition asking for there to be an investigation into the organisation that runs this building because they’re so incompetent, the council turned it down. 68% of residents thought they’ve been threatened, harassed, pressured or bullied by the same organisation, or by the contractors doing the work. I personally had the contracts manager come over and threaten me on my own door. They’re the conditions that we were dealing with and they didn’t listen to our concerns,” he said.

Here’s the interview.

The latest update from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was this statement, released at 21:35.

“Police have confirmed that the fire at Grenfell Tower has resulted in at least 12 fatalities, sadly this figure is expected to rise. The Council is helping those affected and in need of emergency accommodation. It is also giving financial assistance to cover their immediate needs. 

Our immediate priority is to accommodate the residents of Grenfell Tower, families with young children, the elderly and the vulnerable. We are still placing households and housing officers will work throughout the night to provide assistance and support. 

For those unable to return to their homes in the surrounding area, a rest centre has been set up at Westway Sports Centre, Crowthorne Road, W10 6RP.  This will be open throughout the night to provide emergency accommodation.

We have heard a number of theories about the cause of the fire at Grenfell Tower.  All of these will be thoroughly investigated as part of the formal investigation which has already begun. The Council activated its major emergency plan in the early hours of this morning and has been working with the emergency services since to support the rescue and relief operation.

If you’re concerned about friends and relatives, the police Casualty Bureau can be contacted on 0800 096 1233. The Met have also stated that the Council are helping anyone who needs emergency accommodation and they’re giving financial assistance to cover their immediate needs.

Rest centres for displaced residents are open at:

Rugby Portobello Trust, Walmer Road, W11 4EY
St Clement Church, Treadgold Street, W11 4BP
Westway Sports Centre, Crowthorne Road, W10 6RP
Residents are also being encouraged to go to the Westway Sports Centre as the other centres are reaching capacity.