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Grenfell Tower Fire

Three Blocks So Far Found to Have Flammable, Grenfell-Like Cladding

Six-hundred tower blocks with cladding of some sort are being reviewed in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

by Rory James
22 June 2017, 2:18pm

Photo: Natalie Oxford

It's been just over a week since a fire in Grenfell Tower killed at least 79 people. The rapid spread of the fire has been linked to the flammable aluminium cladding, installed as part of a £10 million cosmetic renovation of the block. It was revealed today that some of the deaths may have been caused by cyanide gas released from these burning insulation panels.

Today, the government withdrew its statement from this morning that 600 tower blocks have cladding similar to Grenfell's, saying that what they actually meant is there are 600 blocks with cladding of some kind. So far, at least three of these buildings have been found to have combustible cladding.

In the House of Commons, Jeremy Corbyn said the Grenfell fire was "both a tragedy and an outrage", accusing the government of not listening to the voices of the working class, and asking, "Why aren't the political leaders of Kensington and Chelsea taking responsibility as well for this whole dreadful event?"

He went on to state that the emergency services were "overstretched and understaffed", and requested an examination of the "whole issue of the security of our fire service".

In her statement to the House of Commons, Theresa May apologised for "the fact that the support on the ground in the initial hours was not good enough", and paid tribute to those who supported the victims by giving them "shelter, sustenance, comfort and practical support". She also said that everyone made homeless by the fire will "be offered rehousing within three weeks".

"Already 164 suitable properties have been identified, and they are being checked and made ready for people to move into," she said, adding that "nobody is being forced to move somewhere they don't want to go".

Some former Grenfell residents will be moving to social housing flats in a luxury housing complex in the wealthy south end of Kensington & Chelsea. Some private residents – people who pay £2,500 a month to live in the luxurious bit – have criticised this move to The Guardian, and been roundly slated on social media.

An independent public inquiry will be launched into the tragedy, with Theresa May saying, "For any guilty parties, there will be nowhere to hide".