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Grenfell Tower fire - has it gone political?

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  • 16-06-2017 12:01pm
    #1
    Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,537 Mod ✭✭✭✭


    Has this fire gone political - or was it political from the start? The richest area of London doing things on the cheap for the poorest people.

    1. When the fire started no-one appeared to know how many floors were in the building.

    2. No-one appeared to know how many apartments were in the building.

    3. Three days later no-one appears to know how many people actually lived in the building.

    4. Official figures on day three give the number of dead at 17 with no figures for the possible number of victims - but unofficial figures given off the record by police and fire officers say about 150.

    5. No-one appears to be responsible for anything - no-one from the council except Councilor Blakeman, who has been a champion for the residents for a long time.

    6. No spokesman for anyone appearing on the media.

    7. Minister responsible for Police and Fire spent yesterday at a commons committee on other business - saying he was only a wet day in office.

    8. PM May snuck into the area and disappeared as quickly as possible and only spoke to the police. Jezza and Kahn spoke to the residents and took some abuse from the locals, but were strong on sympathy and resolve to see results of any enquiry.

    9. Now the police are saying they will not be able to identify all the victims. They could start be listing the missing, suspected as being victims.

    The cladding of that building cost £10 million, but no sprinkler system, and no proper fire inspection.

    Ronan Point, a high rise block of flats, collapsed in 1968 as the result of a gas explosion in one flat on the 24th floor which brought down the whole corner of the block. As a result, gas was turned off in all such blocks. The block was strengthened but eventually was demolished in 1986. It was not collapsed with explosives but was forensically dismantled and examined. It was found that significant failures of construction existed in the building even after strengthening and could have collapsed in the storm of 1987.

    Calculations on that building did not take account of wind loadings, nor the effect of open windows on that loading. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

    Cladding these buildings with flammable material is a new disaster - but unfortunately it has already happened - despite warnings from the residents going back years. Let us hope action is taken immediately - new instruction to residents to get out fast, block wide fire alarms, and installation of sprinklers.


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Comments

  • Posts: 25,611 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    Has this fire gone political - or was it political from the start? The richest area of London doing things on the cheap for the poorest people.

    1. When the fire started no-one appeared to know how many floors were in the building.

    2. No-one appeared to know how many apartments were in the building.
    Thought that was cleared up fairly quickly since there was a recent renovation.
    3. Three days later no-one appears to know how many people actually lived in the building.
    I'm sure there's an official record but it's not like they're going to inspect all the time and the number is likely to be higher. If they did it would be "harrassment".
    4. Official figures on day three give the number of dead at 17 with no figures for the possible number of victims - but unofficial figures given off the record by police and fire officers say about 150.
    The attempt to manage and massage information could well backfire on the government.
    5. No-one appears to be responsible for anything - no-one from the council except Councilor Blakeman, who has been a champion for the residents for a long time.
    Contracting, outsourcing, subcontracting, all add to diffusing responsibility.
    6. No spokesman for anyone appearing on the media.
    Like who?
    7. Minister responsible for Police and Fire spent yesterday at a commons committee on other business - saying he was only a wet day in office.[/quote
    Not great.
    8. PM May snuck into the area and disappeared as quickly as possible and only spoke to the police. Jezza and Kahn spoke to the residents and took some abuse from the locals, but were strong on sympathy and resolve to see results of any enquiry.
    Sounds about right.
    9. Now the police are saying they will not be able to identify all the victims. They could start be listing the missing, suspected as being victims.
    Aye, the lack of information is shocking. Even with the London Bridge attack it was very, very poorly handled.
    The cladding of that building cost ?10 million, but no sprinkler system, and no proper fire inspection.

    Ronan Point, a high rise block of flats, collapsed in 1968 as the result of a gas explosion in one flat on the 24th floor which brought down the whole corner of the block. As a result, gas was turned off in all such blocks. The block was strengthened but eventually was demolished in 1986. It was not collapsed with explosives but was forensically dismantled and examined. It was found that significant failures of construction existed in the building even after strengthening and could have collapsed in the storm of 1987.

    Calculations on that building did not take account of wind loadings, nor the effect of open windows on that loading. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

    Cladding these buildings with flammable material is a new disaster - but unfortunately it has already happened - despite warnings from the residents going back years. Let us hope action is taken immediately - new instruction to residents to get out fast, block wide fire alarms, and installation of sprinklers.
    Sprinklers are an absolute no-brainer. Getting out fast may not be. Though having a building that height with one staircase seems absolutely mental to me. Remember, the Tories are all about removing "red-tape" and elf and safety culture.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,537 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    This building is owned by Kensington and Chelsea Council. Where are those responsible for the building?

    Number living in the building? Do they not pay rent?

    There are 120 apartments, with 200 bedrooms - even I can do the sums. Locals say 600 lived there - but with two per room would put 400 in the building, but add children into the numbers and I can see why it could be 600.

    I would believe 150 deaths would be a low guess as fire destroyed everything above the eighth floor. Anyone who stayed put as advised is likely dead.


  • Posts: 25,611 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    This building is owned by Kensington and Chelsea Council. Where are those responsible for the building?
    There's a management company as well no? And there have been statements out.
    Number living in the building? Do they not pay rent?


    There are 120 apartments, with 200 bedrooms - even I can do the sums. Locals say 600 lived there - but with two per room would put 400 in the building, but add children into the numbers and I can see why it could be 600.
    Is this wilful ignorance? There would likely be more than declared in many apartments. So 3 per room you're going with? Some apartments will have a fair bit more, some will be single people.
    While they should be releasing more information than they are it's likely the final death toll won't be known for certain.
    I would believe 150 deaths would be a low guess as fire destroyed everything above the eighth floor. Anyone who stayed put as advised is likely dead.
    People escaped from higher than that. 100-150 would be my guess but I wouldn't be surprised if the confirmed number has a margin of error of around 10-20.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus


    This building is owned by Kensington and Chelsea Council. Where are those responsible for the building?
    Realistically you're probably talking about an office with 3 or 4 civil servants who manage this stuff. Unless someone directly goes and asks them for this information during public sector working hours (10am to 4pm, lunch 12-2), then you're not going to get any comments on it.

    I'm sure they're talking about it themselves, coming up with all sorts of plans. But they're not going to voluntarily go to the media to discuss this. Who wants that hassle?

    Also, there's very little any of the building managers could say that would be helpful. The fire has to be investigated, so discussing the ins and outs of the state of the building isn't really useful at this stage.

    For example, we don't even know if standard fire suppression systems could have effectively contained this fire.
    Number living in the building? Do they not pay rent?

    There are 120 apartments, with 200 bedrooms - even I can do the sums. Locals say 600 lived there - but with two per room would put 400 in the building, but add children into the numbers and I can see why it could be 600.
    Still hard to pin down numbers. Like I say, the manifest of renters is probably something that only a couple of civil servants have access to. And even then, all you have is the renters. They won't know who is living with them and it's likely that a lot of information will be out of date - children "inheriting" a home from a deceased parent but continuing to pay the rent in their name. Unless the council go knocking door to door every couple of months, the information they have will go stale.

    You can make a best guess by shooting for five people (2 parents + 3 children) per apartment, but all it takes is a handful of apartments with ten people squished into them to massively inflate the numbers.
    I would believe 150 deaths would be a low guess as fire destroyed everything above the eighth floor. Anyone who stayed put as advised is likely dead.
    There is a big effort here to avoid throwing out numbers, but it seems pretty clear from the huge numbers of missing that the final toll is going to be enormous.

    The police chief has stated that he "hopes" the number won't reach 3 figures. In reality what he's doing is putting that possibility out there so it's not quite as horrifying when it's confirmed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 28,403 ✭✭✭✭vicwatson


    Police confirm 30 deaths at present


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  • Registered Users Posts: 40,291 ✭✭✭✭Gatling


    Has anyone other than Lilly Allen claimed 150+ deaths ,
    I saw one lady claiming​ she saw 25 + people die in front of her eyes yet then made a claim of something else ,(somebody told her ),
    To me it seems a lot of people are been given airtime with various media outlets and making pretty broad claims ,but very few people speaking seem to know anything definite about what and where and who's to blame ,


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,399 ✭✭✭cml387


    Nobody is obliged to talk to the media, in fact in most operations it is forbidden to speak to the media and all media relations goes through a particular channel.

    So it doesn't surprise me that no member of K and C is willing to be torn limb from limb by the Daily Mail.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 38,163 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    I was just debating whether or not to start a thread here.

    I would definitely say that it's developed into a political issue. There is controversy with the way the building was constructed, the actions of Boris Johnson as London's mayor cutting back on the fire department and now Theresa May hasn't met any of the victims whereas both the Queen and Jeremy Corbyn have.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Posts: 25,611 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    Gatling wrote: »
    Has anyone other than Lilly Allen claimed 150+ deaths ,
    I saw one lady claiming​ she saw 25 + people die in front of her eyes yet then made a claim of something else ,(somebody told her ),
    To me it seems a lot of people are been given airtime with various media outlets and making pretty broad claims ,but very few people speaking seem to know anything definite about what and where and who's to blame ,
    They're doing their best to deflect and downplay in hope that anger dissipates IMO. It looks like the anger may just be simmering instead.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,537 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    They're doing their best to deflect and downplay in hope that anger dissipates IMO. It looks like the anger may just be simmering instead.

    I would say the anger is growing and is near exploding.


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  • Posts: 25,611 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    I would say the anger is growing and is near exploding.
    Yup, and hopefully it's well-directed this time unlike 2011.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 15,701 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tabnabs


    From a political perspective it has done a lot of harm to the Tories and to May in particular. Yesterdays quick stop off was shades of George Bush Jr overflying the Hurricane Katherine devastation in New Orleans in Air Force 1.

    Labour feel they have the Tories on the back foot and there is a groundswell of support for them amongst the working classes (or more so opposition to the Tory outlook). Sadiq Kahn has taken quite a bit of abuse, but at least he's stood there and taken it. They'll use every opportunity to beat the Tories with this issue.

    The best that can be expected to come out of this tragedy is that emergency services do not receive any further funding cuts and fire safety standards in building materials are both raised and vigorously enforced.

    Apparently the building was used to home a lot of refugees and asylum seekers, so the numbers of people staying in the flats at any one time could be quite fluid. The likely reason we'll never know the full extent of the casualties.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,246 ✭✭✭judeboy101


    May's handlers controlled her meet and greet with emergency workers, big mistake. They should have exposed her to the venom of the residents and made her act calm and reassuring, taking all their anger but giving back comfort and strong action.

    Corbyns people sent him to the people affected but wisely had it indoors where less aggro would happen and he did looked very good.

    Khans people tried to do a corbyn but out in open and went bad enough.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,537 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    Tabnabs wrote: »
    From a political perspective it has done a lot of harm to the Tories and to May in particular. Yesterdays quick stop off was shades of George Bush Jr overflying the Hurricane Katherine devastation in New Orleans in Air Force 1.

    Labour feel they have the Tories on the back foot and there is a groundswell of support for them amongst the working classes (or more so opposition to the Tory outlook). Sadiq Kahn has taken quite a bit of abuse, but at least he's stood there and taken it. They'll use every opportunity to beat the Tories with this issue.

    The best that can be expected to come out of this tragedy is that emergency services do not receive any further funding cuts and fire safety standards in building materials are both raised and vigorously enforced.

    Apeparently the building was used to home a lot of refugees and asylum seekers, so the numbers of people staying in the flats at any one time could be quite fluid. The likely reason we'll never know the full extent of the casualties.

    However there is an amazing sense of community and 'friendship' among residents, so the missing will be listed as such.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,336 ✭✭✭Mr.Micro


    The response of May to this tragedy has been very poor. If anything it only highlights further her detachment and how inadequate she is as PM? Too late now, the Tories have been re-elected.


    Why use cladding that was not fire proof, effectively creating a tree? It does not take much common sense to see how dangerous it is, to wrap a building with combustible material. If a fire started anywhere then it would spread like a forest fire along the cladding. The Borough Council are supposed to know this, they have experts or consultants. Incompetence and negligence?


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,875 ✭✭✭A Little Pony


    The human equivalent of caged hens. Of course it was a matter of time. sh*t living conditions, overcrowded, sh*t  safety regulations. It's political because the poor got shafted in the name of saving money.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 17,642 Mod ✭✭✭✭Graham


    This building is owned by Kensington and Chelsea Council. Where are those responsible for the building?

    It looks like responsibility for the building was taken from the council when the tenants invoked their rights to manage their own homes.
    In the early 1990s, the tenants and leaseholders of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea decided to pursue their legal right to manage their own homes. Following two separate ballots in 1994 and 1995, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) was established on 1 April 1996 and the responsibility for managing 9,760 properties passed from The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to the Tenant Management Organisation.
    Source: http://www.kctmo.org.uk/main/8/about-us


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,654 ✭✭✭storker


    This is starting to sound a bit like the Cork Airport crash. Too many entities involved in providing a service, with unclear lines of responsibility and vital tasks going undone as a result.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 17,642 Mod ✭✭✭✭Graham


    storker wrote: »
    This is starting to sound a bit like the Cork Airport crash. Too many entities involved in providing a service, with unclear lines of responsibility and vital tasks going undone as a result.

    I'm not sure there is any uncertainty.

    As far as I can see the responsibility starts and ends with KCTMO.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 38,163 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    Looks like they cheaped out on the cladding. From The Guardian:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/16/manufacturer-of-cladding-on-grenfell-tower-identified-as-omnis-exteriors
    Material used in the cladding that covered the Grenfell Tower was the cheaper, more flammable version of the two available options, an investigation of the supply chain has confirmed.

    Omnis Exteriors manufactured the aluminium composite material (ACM) used in the cladding, a company director, John Cowley, confirmed to the Guardian.

    He also said Omnis had been asked to supply Reynobond PE cladding, which is £2 cheaper per square metre than the alternative Reynobond FR, which stands for “fire resistant” to the companies that worked on refurbishing Grenfell Tower.

    Looks like they only saved £5,000.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 9,005 ✭✭✭pilly




  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 38,163 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha


    I think at least one head will roll over this.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith



  • Registered Users Posts: 19,018 ✭✭✭✭murphaph


    To be honest I suspect this could just as easily happen to a clad luxury block in London or anywhere else. The cladding of older blocks is a relatively new phenomenon. There's an international pattern of cladding fires emerging now which should worry anyone involved and which needs urgent attention to come up with mitigation techniques for already clad tall buildings.

    Note Germany is the only EU country which currently requires tall (over 22m) to be clad only in non-combustible materials. The EU need to act here and compel all member states to follow suit.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,875 ✭✭✭A Little Pony


    It's so transparent how they don't want to just tell the truth that over 100+ people have died  and are releasing it slowly over a number of days so to avoid a possible riot and violence outbreak.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 17,642 Mod ✭✭✭✭Graham


    It's so transparent how they don't want to just tell the truth that over 100+ people have died  and are releasing it slowly over a number of days so to avoid a possible riot and violence outbreak.

    It's probably better that they don't start guessing at numbers.

    It's fairly standard practice across the globe that you don't start releasing official figures until you have official figures.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,537 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    murphaph wrote: »
    To be honest I suspect this could just as easily happen to a clad luxury block in London or anywhere else. The cladding of older blocks is a relatively new phenomenon. There's an international pattern of cladding fires emerging now which should worry anyone involved and which needs urgent attention to come up with mitigation techniques for already clad tall buildings.

    Note Germany is the only EU country which currently requires tall (over 22m) to be clad only in non-combustible materials. The EU need to act here and compel all member states to follow suit.
    Graham wrote: »
    It's probably better that they don't start guessing at numbers.

    It's fairly standard practice across the globe that you don't start releasing official figures until you have official figures.

    It is obvious they will not release 'official' figures ever, because they 'will not be able to identify everyone that died - or even know'. That appears to be the strategy they are currently going for.

    Fire safety will move up the political agenda.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 17,642 Mod ✭✭✭✭Graham


    It is obvious they will not release 'official' figures ever, because they 'will not be able to identify everyone that died - or even know'. That appears to be the strategy they are currently going for.

    If they don't know then it's not a strategy, it's a fact.

    What they will know for a fact is the number of bodies recovered and that appears to be what is being released.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,828 ✭✭✭tea and coffee


    What I wonder is why can't they release figures on
    1. How many rescued : done
    2. How many escaped of their own accord
    3. Number of confirmed deaths: done.

    Particularly 2. Would be useful . We keep hearing x rescued and y in hospital. Yes. How many in total got out with or without the help of fire services


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 9,005 ✭✭✭pilly


    What I wonder is why can't they release figures on
    1. How many rescued : done
    2. How many escaped of their own accord
    3. Number of confirmed deaths: done.

    Particularly 2. Would be useful . We keep hearing x rescued and y in hospital. Yes. How many in total got out with or without the help of fire services

    How could they know that though?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,828 ✭✭✭tea and coffee


    pilly wrote: »
    How could they know that though?

    Would they not keep a tally of people who got out/ ask them to make themselves known to be counted


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