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Old 14th Jun 2017, 02:54   #1 (permalink)
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Grenfell Tower Fire London UK

Fire engulfs Grenfell tower block in west London - BBC News

...very bad....how to attack a 25 story inferno?

...has been recently reno'd

http://wittukgroup.co.uk/grenfell-to...ation-project/
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 03:18   #2 (permalink)
 
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Get all the people out and let it burn!

No sense risking Firefighter's lives once the occupants are out of the building and safe.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 03:52   #3 (permalink)
 
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Looks like theres people trapped on the roof still from the live news feed. Just awful.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 04:16   #4 (permalink)
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From the live vision, from the way stuff is falling off, I would not be surprised if the whole thing collapsed.
There are reports that the building recently had been re clad on the outside.....I'm wondering.....

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-2...-bombs/6501716

Last edited by SOPS; 14th Jun 2017 at 04:31.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 04:25   #5 (permalink)
 
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Bit early for hindsight club but the residents action group have raised multiple concerns over fire risks and safety in the tower block. Which makes this even more sickening.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 05:08   #6 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by SOPS View Post
From the live vision, from the way stuff is falling off, I would not be surprised if the whole thing collapsed.
There are reports that the building recently had been re clad on the outside.....I'm wondering.....

Cheap building materials turning high-rise apartment buildings into ticking time bombs: unions, fire experts - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
They had major problems with cladding fires in the Emirates..

New fire code requires builders to reduce cladding flammability in UAE buildings | The National

SKY news quoting a resident who said a neighbour came to him saying an electrical appliance in his flat was on fire.

A prediction
Quote:
It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block or similar high density residential property is the most likely reason that those who wield power at the KCTMO will be found out and brought to justice! The Grenfell Action Group believe that the KCTMO narrowly averted a major fire disaster at Grenfell Tower in 2013 when residents experienced a period of terrifying power surges that were subsequently found to have been caused by faulty wiring. We believe that our attempts to highlight the seriousness of this event were covered up by the KCTMO with the help of the RBKC Scrutiny Committee who refused to investigate the legitimate concerns of tenants and leaseholders.

We have blogged many times on the subject of fire safety at Grenfell Tower and we believe that these investigations will become part of damning evidence of the poor safety record of the KCTMO should a fire affect any other of their properties and cause the loss of life that we are predicting:
https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpres...ing-with-fire/

Last edited by sitigeltfel; 14th Jun 2017 at 05:56.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 05:37   #7 (permalink)
 
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenfell_Tower_fire
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 05:43   #8 (permalink)
 
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The horror of being trapped inside doesn't bear thinking about. I've never been in one of these buildings. I assume that, like hotels, they have fully integrated alarm and sprinkler systems and fire escapes. Does anyone know?
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 06:23   #9 (permalink)
 
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

One resident quoted on BBC as saying the fire alarm did not go off today, he was woken by screaming/shouting from other residents.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 07:06   #10 (permalink)
 
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Facade fires, following the fitting of expanded polystyrene external wall insulation, are very, very nasty, and have happened in several countries. A search of YouTube for facade fires will show a few. Grenfell Tower was fitted with plastic external wall insulation a year or so ago. Looking at the photos I am pretty convinced that the fire was spread via the burning facade insulation. The whole idea of wrapping a high rise building in expanded polystyrene is completely insane.

Edited to add:

Here's one of the YouTube videos from four years ago (a couple of years before Grenfell Tower was clad) showing how fire spreads up high rise buildings that have been fitted with external wall insulation:


Last edited by VP959; 14th Jun 2017 at 07:23. Reason: added video
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 07:19   #11 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Wingswinger View Post
The horror of being trapped inside doesn't bear thinking about. I've never been in one of these buildings. I assume that, like hotels, they have fully integrated alarm and sprinkler systems and fire escapes. Does anyone know?
Not those from the 1950s to 1970s ... the principle back then was (and still basically is) compartmentalisation, i.e. a fire should be limited to the apartment where it starts. If done right, there is not even the need to evacuate the building in case of a fire, only the burning apartment itself and maybe the neighbouring apartments need to be evacuated. Combine that with a stairway that is safe from fire and a high rise building is a pretty safe place ...

Compare this fire in a German tower block of the 1970s (unfortunately the video is in German, but you can see the fire) where the fire was so intense that the firefighters were unable to enter the burning apartment due to the heat for considerable time, yet the fire remained contained to the apartment where it started.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 07:30   #12 (permalink)
 
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In addition to white cladding, it appears that triangular shape tubes were bolted to the outside, running vertically, these are the vertical fingers that can be seen burning over 15 floors.

Looking at pictures, it's feasible radiant heat from these lethal Toblerones breached adjacent windows even if they were closed. Windows were hinged at bottom so smoke and flames would be efficiently directed into rooms

The toblerones burnt out, but by then had ignited rooms.

A (unverified) floor plan posted online indicates there was only one stairway, located next to the liftshafts, in the middle of the building.

There was no common communal fire alarm system.

Reports that new gas line was being installed, drilled through the stairs.

One witness said he ran around the base of the building checking that fire escapes weren't blocked, but there wasn't any, just the main entrance foyer...

Finally, advice to residents was to stay put as flats would provide protection for 90 minutes. This is half arsed advice as after 90 minutes with a single staircase the opportunity to escape could be compromised, as was the case here....


Quote:
Fire risk and safety expert Stephen MacKenzie says that any one inside trapped on the upper floor is told that flats inside can be safe for up to 90 minutes in the event of a fire.

He said that as soon as it is clear that staying inside a flat is untenable then people should move to one of the escape routes.

He says: "We've had a new provision from the European Union for owner occupiers to do fire risk assessment. We've had an indication that the local authority have done that. Any updates would have been signed off by building control."
Reports say poor buggers could have escaped but chose to stay put and later were screaming for help from upper floors.

Residents also criticised road access for fire trucks, google confirms access for aerial appliances is restricted.
According to the web, London's aerial appliances extend only 32 meters in height.

Whilst narrow London streets are an issue for taller aerial appliances, their could be room for improvement.

Also reports that there was an issue with the dry riser.

Mjb

Last edited by mickjoebill; 14th Jun 2017 at 09:16.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 07:36   #13 (permalink)
 
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One major problem is that the burning plastic external wall insulation (brief description here: 10m tower renovation in London | Knauf Insulation UK) gives off extremely nasty fumes and smoke. The flats may well have been reasonably resistant to fire BEFORE the building was clad in a highly flammable material a year or so ago, but were the fire instructions, alarm systems and fire escapes all updated to reflect the changed fire risk from the cladding?

From early reports it seems they may not have been.

Edited to add:

In the time between me posting the link above and a few minutes ago, that link has been deleted by its site owner. That alone makes me more than a little concerned about their own fear of being possibly being found liable, in part, for the fast spread of this fire.

The internet being what it is, the web page I linked to is still cached and visible: http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=uk

Last edited by VP959; 14th Jun 2017 at 08:59. Reason: Link deleted
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 07:45   #14 (permalink)
 
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It may be trick of the camera, but some TV shots hint at a slight lean on the tower compared to other buildings in the background?
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 08:12   #15 (permalink)
 
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I hope I'm not correct, but I was thinking that as with other public buildings, such as NHS properties, are council owned blocks exempt by Crown Immunity from complying with some aspects of construction and installation of safety equipment that are mandatory for privately built and owned properties?

Looking at the dreadful VT this morning, i can't see that sprinklers could have been working, if they were installed, and clearly, listening to vox-pops, which can be dangerous, it appears that some at least of the fire alarms may have been inoperative.

Were any of the fire door propped open? I don't know, but I bet that answer to that is probably yes, given my experience of visiting these types of buildings during the course of my work.

This terrible incident is going to lead to some dramatic new regulation for tower blocks.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 08:23   #16 (permalink)
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It is suggested that there was gas main work ongoing inside the building.

Standard advice in the event of fire was to stay put inside your flat and await rescue.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 08:27   #17 (permalink)
 
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It may well be that this is related to building regulations, in that whenever the outside of a building is refurbished now, there is a requirement to improve the insulation. What seems to be happening is that these refurbishments often use external foam insulation fixed to the original structure, with either an external coat of render, or, as in this case, a layer of metal cladding over the insulation (I believe that the metal over the foam insulation on Grenfell Tower may have been aluminium).

The common fire scenario with this insane system, is that fire runs up between the metal external cladding and the original wall, burning through the insulation. This creates a strong chimney effect, so the fire quickly spreads vertically up the outside walls, and would almost certainly be hot enough to melt away the aluminium outer covering, or destroy the fasteners that hold that outer covering on.

Once that starts to happen, more air can get in to create a more intense fire inside the remaining insulation cladding, with the fire reaching heights that are beyond the range of fire fighting equipment. Off hand, I can't remember how high fire fighting equipment can work, but I doubt they could have reached more than half way up a building of this height, may be lower.

Given the many instances of facade fires in externally insulated buildings across Europe, I'm frankly amazed that this building was allowed to be turned into such a fire hazard. I've long felt that building regulation standards were slipping, with developers able to "buy" approval, in effect, ever since building control was opened up for commercial competition. I suspect that this fire may well cause some very searching questions to be asked, especially as it seems there may well be a number of fatalities.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 09:18   #18 (permalink)
 
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I notice from the aerial cameras, that a nearby block looks to have a free-standing 'mini-tower' with a walkway from each floor. I assume this is a detached stair well for just such an emergency. Seems that this would have helped as a design feature in this sad case.

CG
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 10:07   #19 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by G-CPTN View Post
Standard advice in the event of fire was to stay put inside your flat and await rescue.
A number of residents are claiming they are alive only because they ignored that advice.

I suppose in such a situation you have to decide on the best course of action at the time.
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Old 14th Jun 2017, 10:32   #20 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by sitigeltfel View Post
A number of residents are claiming they are alive only because they ignored that advice.
I suppose in such a situation you have to decide on the best course of action at the time.
That is true. Rather like 20/20 hindsight, easy to make the right decision when you are possession of all the facts. If you are inside a burning building, not that easy to step back, make an objective decision as to which is your best escape route. Guess you stick to the instructions/recommendation you have been given, hopefully given by someone who has studied the best evacuation procedures.

Reckon there will be more than a few property managers / fire officers scurrying around today looking at the outside of buildings.

RIP to those who have lost their lives, although no fatality numbers have yet been released.
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