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Old 14th Jun 2017, 23:16   #61 (permalink)
 
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MJB

You have added a lot of valuable explanation that I, as a layman, never before considered.

What is the strategy to fight fires in the more modern buildings such as the Shard or in the City itself?

Obviously sprinklers and adequate escape stairwells of course, but you mentioned pumping from a riser so that there would be flow from above.

Is all that adequate if the brigade does not have the kit to reach high floors?

Naturally those buildings have been approved, built, and done well, but I never thought about how they plan to fight a fire. One of those things one should think of more often no doubt.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 23:28   #62 (permalink)
 
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Architectural drawings and floor plans of Grenfell Tower here:

https://twitter.com/JustinHemming/media

There was only one fire escape. However, seeing as it went down through the middle core of the building I can't help but think the property could have been completely evacuated if an immediate evacuation order had been given, rather than the "stay inside" protocol that was issued.

I expect there would have been issues with fire doors wedged open. Maybe the ingress of smoke into the fire escape would have been incentive for evacuees to un-wedge the doors, maybe not. In theory, that central fire escape should have allowed all mobile residents of this building to escape, had evacuation instructions been given in a timely manner.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 00:05   #63 (permalink)
 
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This descriptive bystander video commences around 1 hour after the fire started and runs 40 minutes.
It shows a bloke trying to exit via a rope made of sheets.
Also shows how effective the one aerial appliance was and that folks on lower levels on the side that was yet to be impacted by direct flame, couldn't use stairs, due to smoke.


https://www.pscp.tv/w/bBBwtTFETEtCWH...KYrKKHSNxyIBqR

Mjb

Last edited by mickjoebill; 15th Jun 2017 at 08:53.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 00:46   #64 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by radeng View Post
And then there is

London fire: Twelve dead in Grenfell Tower blaze - BBC News

That's two nurses have considered that it is their duty to go into danger to help people in the last couple of weeks.....the other one died at Borough Market. Simone Williams deserves a medal - far more than any sports people...as does perhaps even more so, the Australian Sara Zelenak, murdered at Borough Market. I feel that in her case, a posthumous GC is appropriate.

I'm not that religious, but John 15:13 seems to apply....
Amen! We are blessed to have such people among us!

We have folks who help others at great risk to themselves every day....it right to honor them when possible.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 03:16   #65 (permalink)
 
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Reports of 30 deceased in Oz media this morning. I'm certain there will be more.
An absolute tragedy.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 03:20   #66 (permalink)
 
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Too early to be sure, but I wonder if a lot of people who did not escape failed due smoke rather than direct fire. Either pushed back into their flat by smoke, or overcome by smoke as try to escape.
If so, smoke hoods would be help if living in high rise.
I plan to carry one if overseas and staying in hotel, and also have it available in cabin of aircraft.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 04:28   #67 (permalink)
 
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Smoke Hoods, Stairwells, Oven Roasting Bags

The problem with stairwells is that smoke can settle in over a number of floors. Your chances of survival descending through the smoke without respiratory protection are poor.

While smoke hoods improve your odds, they are hard to find.

Oven roasting bags (turkey size) give you a minute or two and are available at many grocers. An air accident investigator told an aviation safety seminar he and his colleagues travel with them.

While stairwells in class A office blocks are generally trustworthy because of regular fire drills, I recommend giving a close look at the exits at your workplace and multiple unit residence.

A call to your local fire department as I have done on two occasions in less conscientiously maintained buildings will get any deficiencies quickly sorted

I have promptly taken to an office stairwell when there is no announcement after an alarm sounds on three occasions. Two were false - one was real.

A lady several floors above me was firebombed by an ex. The damage was confined to her unit. She did some tricky climbing moves to get to her neighbors' unit Cladding was brick

Buildings with this cladding urgently need testing and the cladding removed if unsafe.

This is a truly MASSIVE engineering failure
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 05:04   #68 (permalink)
 
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Also a failure to specify the right cladding material. Use of a fully fire resistant cladding product (Kingspan for instance) would have stopped the fire taking hold so violently.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 06:10   #69 (permalink)
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Reports I have seen indicate the problem was that there was a gap left between the cladding and the added insulation which acted like a flue and drew and accelerated the fire upwards - but that it was the insulation that burnt readily. The cladding was, reportedly, an aluminium composite which met the required specification, but eventually burnt when the heat in the "flue" became too great - like using an ordinary rather than fire brick in a fireplace.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 07:06   #70 (permalink)
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Regular fire drills: good thought, at schools with dormitories there are regular fire drills. 60 years ago one escape system was a friction reel. It worked over 50-60 feet and the heavier you were the slower the descent. I imagine you could use a modern system over much greater heights.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 07:45   #71 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator View Post
Regular fire drills: good thought, at schools with dormitories there are regular fire drills. 60 years ago one escape system was a friction reel. It worked over 50-60 feet and the heavier you were the slower the descent. I imagine you could use a modern system over much greater heights.
Apparently, the windows have restricted opening - though a dedicated escape system could have a larger opening.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 08:21   #72 (permalink)
 
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The building I used to work in, in central London, is of a similar structure to the Grenfell tower - although it is an office tower, not residential. Dry riser and sprinkler systems on every floor, two separate emergency stairwell routes down the core of the building, and interestingly to me, a vertical void up the entire centre of the building which is supposed to draw smoke 'into itself' and thence away to exits on the top of the building's roof - vortex effect? I used to semi-regularly walk up the 24 floors to inspect it for my own satisfaction, the biggest problem I used to see was the office cleaners using the dry riser outlets in the emergency stairwells as 'cupboards' to store their materials.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 08:32   #73 (permalink)
 
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Along with an engineering failure.... are we seeing other gross failures of building codes, fire safety standards, building inspection standards, code enforcement and the like?
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 09:11   #74 (permalink)
 
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The cladding must obviously be a major contributor to the ferocity of the fire for the simple reason that there's none of it left on the gutted parts of the tower! The type of cladding used was prohibited until building regulations were "relaxed" in the mid 1980's by the then Thatcher government...
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 09:16   #75 (permalink)
 
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The last thing we want is a Public Inquiry and we need the politicians to stay well out of it. Corbyn has already started suggesting a government cover-up and a suppression of a "dodgy dossier". It is fair that the public are part of the process and informed if the findings but they should not be the drivers, nor should lawyers or politicians. All are grossly unfit for this task. We also have to face the truth problem. If we are to find out what really happened, we need the witnesses to be able to speak freely. But if there is the slightest chance of prosecution they will not say a word. Would you? So someone needs the legal authority to grant certain levels of immunity. Easier said than done.

Prevention, protection, detection, suppression and escape are the headings which an entity must now be charged with to prevent reoccurrence. But who should lead it? The HSE only see criminals and victims. I don't believe the London Fire Brigade have the (correct and sufficient) staff to do this and this. This local council has been found lacking and the property management organisations are little more than cleaners and invoice issuers. I'm rapidly running out of people... Call me a cynic but unless a single body is tasked with sorting future fire protection strategies for tower blocks and tall buildings there will be another one.

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Old 15th Jun 2017, 09:30   #76 (permalink)
 
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Along with an engineering failure.... are we seeing other gross failures of building codes, fire safety standards, building inspection standards, code enforcement and the like?
The simple answer is a qualified yes. I've been peripherally involved with the building industry since a short time before I retired, and set about learning all I could about it.

The building regulations themselves (similar to US building codes) are not too bad. There is a problem with them not being updated as often as needed, particularly with regard to "modern methods of construction", where novel materials are used to construct buildings, materials for which there is no adequate detail in the building regulations.

However, the major problem is that we chose to privatise building inspections here, the inspections that are done during construction to ensure that every building complies with the building regulations. In the past, building inspection was a local government task, and building inspectors were not under any commercial pressure; they were impartial and were only concerned with whether a building met the regulations, not whether them failing a part of it would cost the construction company money.

That all changed years ago, when the government decided that it would be good to privatise building inspection, and introduce a competitive market for inspection services. Needless to say, those inspection companies that don't fail work win the contracts for more building inspection work from the big companies, those that do fail work don't.

It doesn't take a lot of intelligence to see how this system creates the potential for lax inspections - how many inspection companies are going to fail something if it means they could end up winning no new contracts?

I've had first hand experience of this over the past 5 years, and cutting corners in construction here is so common that I've yet to walk around a construction site and not see a non-compliance with the regs. I even took an MP around a new development that was being built, to show him the failings in the system - he and I had a bit of a falling out about it, as he insisted that the construction industry should police itself, and that it was not appropriate for the government to enforce regulation that might hamper business growth.

So, that, in a nutshell, is the environment we have here regarding the way all new buildings or renovations are inspected. It is not at all pleasant, knowing the failings in the system, to see what are probably direct consequences of those failings result in many deaths and injuries.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 10:12   #77 (permalink)
 
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I hate to say it but this appalling tragedy and the BA IT fiasco are both symptoms of UK Management where the past 20 years has seen the inexorable growth of a management equivalent of 'Children of the Magenta Line' That is to say people who are qualified but lack experience and judgement and who when thongs go wrong have no life experiences to fall back on to help them. In addition they cannot train their juniors other than as clones of themselves because all they know about is Spreadsheets and targets.


Perhaps this might help call time on the sense of entitlement but not of responsibility prevalent in people of this ilk, that bonusses and high salaries are not an entitlement but have to be earned by saying difficult things band asking hard question of their seniors not bullying their juniors.

I notice our glorious leader Mrs may exhibited exactly this kind of behaviour today making a brief 'private' visit to the scene of the crime (because that it surely is) because she knew full well what the people on the streets would have to say to her face .
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 10:25   #78 (permalink)
 
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I remember reading this forum discussion thread back when it was written, in 2012:

Burning fascades

The main poster in that thread was trying to illustrate the dangers of fitting external wall insulation on tall buildings, highlighting the fire hazard that this created.

This discussion, on a building-related forum, was two years before the contract was awarded to refurbish Grenfell Tower, and was widely read by a large number of construction industry professionals, particularly those involved in external wall insulation as a way of improving the performance of older buildings.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 10:26   #79 (permalink)
 
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Watched an interesting prog on BBC 2 last about a group of commuters who wanted to bid for the South East Rail franchise. Some very good points were made. One came away with the distinct feeling that rail franchising had been a "stitch up" between Government and big business of their financial benefit. The voice of the commuter/passenger/ customer (although I don't the word in the context) was just of no importance. In the case of Grenfell House you can add the category: resident.

Just have the feeling "privatisation" has gone too far. Should the government run my supermarket or local car dealer......NO !!! Should it run major infrastructure such as the Post Office or the railways, much, much more debateable and for me, I generally feel, yes.....!!!

Privatisation can work: the BBC 2 prog highlighted the Swiss Railways, apparently run by a private company but it is owned by the government and all profits go back into the railway. What do know (?): the Swiss Railways are reckoned to be the best in the world !!! Guess it comes down to what model of privatisation you choose.

Back to BA for minute; their IT fiasco had massive implications on the commercial operation of the company. Their problem but sadly the unwitting passengers too. No safety implications this time but what about the IT that is used in safety critical areas, or am I just being alarmist ???!!!

Last edited by Planemike; 15th Jun 2017 at 10:54.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 10:36   #80 (permalink)
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" The simple answer is a qualified yes. I've been peripherally involved with the building industry since a short time before I retired, and set about learning all I could about it ".

Ah, about yet another "qualified yes "....you seem to have omitted the fact, that, building regs are not as stringent in England as they are in Wales and Scotland, according to reports on last nights C4 News, and elsewhere, from people who are professionals, and not "peripherally involved". Mind you, it's enthralling to watch the ever expansive CV grace this site....actor, film director / producer, aspirant architect now added to the list ...and not forgetting the 43 types and Captain of the Marie Celeste.

Whatever the causal factors of this tragedy, and there will be many it would seem, nobody on here, as such, has commented ( the tragic and seemingly avoidable loss of life aside ) as to the devastation this fire will have on the lives of the survivors..think about it......all your possessions, heirlooms, memories, work and history....gone. Think about how difficult life is about to become for them therefore.

Also of note, again not on here, was the response from the local population of all faiths and creeds /nationalities.

Makes you wonder how many shredders have been working continuously since the event and how times the "delete" button has been pressed on emails now the enormity of the scale of avarice and managerial incompetence is beginning to surface.

I'm not sure if there's ever been a case of corporate manslaughter being fully pursued and those involved convicted and imprisoned, but, with the scale of this event, it would be nice to see a legal precedent being set.

Last edited by Krystal n chips; 15th Jun 2017 at 11:31.
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