Fire has engulfed a 24 storey residential tower block in North Kensington, West London. At least 200 firefighters and 40 engines have been tackling a huge fire at Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the fire started in a fourth floor flat and spread up the outside of the building. The London Fire Brigade has confirmed that there are fatalities and more than 50 people have been taken to hospitals across London.
Built in 1974, Grenfell Tower is managed by the Kensington & Chelsea TMO on behalf of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. It recently underwent an £8.6 million refurbishment where Rydon was the main contractor and Harley Facades carried out a £2.6 million ACM rain screen over clad, replacing windows and installing curtain walling, louvres and feature metalwork.
In a statement Rydon said: “We are shocked to hear of the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower and our immediate thoughts are with those that have been affected by the incident, their families, relatives and friends.
“Rydon completed a refurbishment of the building in the summer of 2016 for KCTMO (Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation) on behalf of the Council, which met all required building control, fire regulation and health & safety standards. We will cooperate with the relevant authorities and emergency services and fully support their enquiries into the causes of this fire at the appropriate time.
“Given the ongoing nature of the incident and the tragic events overnight, it would be inappropriate for us to speculate or comment further at this stage.”
The horrific incident brings back memories of the 2009 tragedy at Lakanal House, in Camberwell, South London. The 2013 inquest into the incident said that numerous opportunities to remedy botched renovation work compromised fire-stopping between flats were missed.
Across England and Wales the legal framework surrounding fire safety in buildings is set out under Building Regulation 38 – Approved Document B. This ensures that, where required, a package of ‘as built’ information recording the fire safety design of the building is given to the person responsible for the premises on completion of the work.
Fire safety information should include all fire safety design and construction methods and measures in appropriate detail and with sufficient accuracy to enable the ‘responsible person’ to operate and maintain the building safely.