Contributed by `Ben Wilson
The terrible fire that engulfed a 24-story block of flats in central London (Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) and known as Grenfell Tower, was a terrible tragedy that took at least 12 lives and injured a much larger number injured. Some seriously.
Quick action by firefighters and early assistance provided by Muslim worshipers, praying during Ramadan at a nearby Mosque at one in the morning, prevented an even worse tragedy. A crisis will often bring out the best in humanity.
The fire has also brought attention to the inadequacy of control over standards in the United Kingdom. Of course, these sorts of fires aren’t uncommon all around the world. In America, there have been a number of house fires that have occurred, leaving many without homes. However, the fire in Grenfell shone a light on the extremity of house fires. After seeing the horror that these victims went through, many people all over the world are taking time to ensure they’re covered in this sort of event. With good homeowners insurance, people can ensure they receive financial support if a fire like this ever occurs in their home. Hopefully though, no one will ever have to go through something like this. This kind of incident is what would be referred to as a freak incident. However, injuries due to incidents in homes and properties are still an occurrence that affects many people’s lives. Home insurance can help those out whose properties have been damaged, but what about their health? It might be wise that more people consider getting a health insurance quote so that they can feel more secure in the knowledge that, whatever comes their way, they won’t be left financially in the dark as the insurance company can help out with the cost of treatment.
This tower did not house the wealthy, but people on the lower economic scale, who needed affordable housing. The United Kingdom has a form of public housing that had been traditionally provided by local councils. In this case, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea ( local council), had handed management of all its residential properties over to a body called the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Association. Critics have been concerned about the Association’s joint ventures with developers on projects that have been unpopular with the locals.
Grenfell Tower had been built on the Lancaster West Estate, which is surrounded by well to do and very wealthy neighborhoods, and is only a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace. The estate’s residents are working-class and many belong to ethnic groups that have relatively recently migrated to the country.
The Tower had recently been refurbished by a construction company called Rydon, which has been criticised for doing the job without proper regard for safety, by using flammable cladding on the outside. Although not yet been officially established whether this caused the fire, it has raised discussion over inadequate and falling safety standards that have been waiting for a major catastrophe to occur. Fires like this cause people to lose their possessions and their lives, this is why fire safety is so important when constructing a building. Rydon really should’ve ensured the building had more fire safety measures to protect these people. When future buildings are being constructed, people who specialise in fire safety engineering for buildings should be called to ensure the building is protected in the event of a fire by incorporating fire safety measures that can slow the spread of the fire, giving people time to get out of it.
There had also been a problem with the gas service. This had been mentioned on BBC radio yesterday, before the fire, which reported that people had seen ash-like material floating around the area.
The resident’s Grenfell Action Group, had been campaigning over some years, over what it considered “very poor fire safety standards” at Grenfell Tower.
In a blog from November last year it warned that “only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Association, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.”
On its website, the Grenfell Action Group responded to the fire with the following:
“Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon (5am) to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences to all who have perished, to the injured, to those who are bereaved or are still searching for missing loved ones.
“Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC.
“all our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time…links to previous blogs we posted on this site trying to warn the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who own this property, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council’s behalf”.