Grenfell safety failures
Expert reports presented to the Grenfell Tower inquiry this week outlined a catalogue of safety problems at the block that had allowed the blaze to take hold. In her report, Dr Barbara Lane referred to a “culture of non-compliance”, saying that basic fire safety measures had been either missing or inadequate. More than 100 doors installed when the block was refurbished were not fire safe and may have failed in 20 minutes instead of 60; an emergency lift for firefighters did not work; and a system to extract smoke from communal areas failed. Flammable parts on window frames spread the fire to the cladding on the building – which did not comply with building regulations and may not even have been assessed for fire safety; this, the inquiry heard, was “substantially to blame” for the scale of the catastrophe. However, the London Fire Brigade’s advice to “stay put” also came under scrutiny: the inquiry was told that by 1:26am – half an hour after the first 999 call was made – it was apparent that the fire was out of control and rapidly spreading up the building, and yet the order to evacuate was not made until 2:47am. The inquiry is now in its “factfinding” stage, which is expected to last 18 months.