London Fire: About 600 UK Buildings May Be 'Combustible' - NBC 7 San Diego
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London Fire: About 600 UK Buildings May Be 'Combustible'

The Department for Communities and Local Government said it would not identify the buildings with combustible panels until landlords have had the opportunity to inform tenants

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    Fire swept through a high-rise apartment building in west London early Wednesday, June 14, 2017, killing an unknown number of people and sending dozens to hospitals. More than 200 firefighters battled the flames, which engulfed the 24-story building.

    (Published Wednesday, June 14, 2017)

    Some 600 buildings in England could have been fitted with flammable external panels like the ones believed to have contributed to a fire that killed at least 79 people in a west London apartment building, Prime Minister Theresa May's Downing Street office said.

    Government facilities testing cladding have so far found three tower blocks to have combustible panels. The testing came after local authorities submitted samples following the June 14 fire at Grenfell Tower in north Kensington.

    Police and fire officials are trying to determine whether the aluminum composite panels contributed to the rapid spread of the blaze, which engulfed the 24-story building in less than an hour.

    "A number of these tests have come back as combustible," May said. "The relevant local authorities and local fire services have been informed, and, as I speak, they are taking all possible steps to ensure buildings are safe and to inform affected residents."

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    May encouraged the owners, both public and private, of tower blocks around the country to quickly forward samples of any similar material for testing. The government will work with local authorities to make sure any dangerous material is removed and residents are safe, she said.

    The Department for Communities and Local Government said it would not identify the buildings with combustible panels until landlords have had the opportunity to inform tenants.

    Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn called for urgent checks on around 4,000 buildings as Britain comes to grips with the potential ramifications of the disaster. Thousands need urgent assurances about their own safety, he said.

    "At least 79 people are dead — it is both a tragedy and an outrage because every single one of those deaths could and should have been avoided," Corbyn said.

    Corbyn compared the tragedy to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 people were killed in the crush of a crowded soccer stadium, and recent sexual abuse scandals involving vulnerable children, arguing that the government had long turned a blind eye to the needs of the poor.

    "The pattern is consistent: working-class people's voices are ignored, their concerns dismissed by those in power," he said.

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    May has apologized for mistakes that were made in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and promised that "no stone will be left unturned" in a public inquiry into its causes.

    "For any guilty parties there will be nowhere to hide," she said.

    May's comments came after the resignation of the top administrative official in the local government that serves the community devastated by the fire. Local residents and the central government have criticized the response to the tragedy.

    Nicholas Holgate, chief executive of the Kensington and Chelsea council, had come under intense pressure following last week's blaze. The first few days after the fire were marked by chaos on the ground as local authorities struggled to deal with the hundreds of people who were displaced.

    Survivors who had lost everything found it hard to get find information about missing loved ones or the services available to help them get back on their feet.

    Tests on exterior building materials in other high-rise buildings conducted after the devastating west London fire has shown that some of the panels submitted were combustible, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday.

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    May told the House of Commons that authorities submitted cladding on similar buildings following the Grenfell Tower fire on June 14 that killed at least 79 people. The aluminum composite material is being studied to see if it contributed to the quick spread of the blaze, which consumed the 24-story building in less than an hour.

    "Shortly before I came to the chamber, I was informed that a number of these tests have come back as combustible," she said. "The relevant local authorities and local fire services have been informed, and, as I speak, they are taking all possible steps to ensure buildings are safe and to inform affected residents."

    Britain's opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, called for urgent checks on around 4,000 buildings as Britain comes to grips with the potential ramifications of the disaster. Thousands needed urgent assurances about their own safety.

    "At least 79 people are dead — it is both a tragedy and an outrage because every single one of those deaths could and should have been avoided," Corbyn said.

    Corbyn compared the tragedy with the Hillsborough disaster, a stampeded in which people were crushed, recent child abuse scandals, arguing that the government turned a blind eye to the poor.

    "''The pattern is consistent: working-class people's voices are ignored, their concerns dismissed by those in power," he said.

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    May has apologized for mistakes made in dealing with the aftermath of Grenfell Tower tragedy and promised that "no stone will be left unturned" in the inquiry.

    "For any guilty parties there will be nowhere to hide," she said.

    May's comments came following the resignation of the local administrator in the west London community devastated by the fire after government officials criticized the speed of the response to the tragedy.

    Nicholas Holgate, chief executive of the Kensington and Chelsea council, had come under intense pressure in the wake of last week's Grenfell Tower blaze. The first few days after inferno were marked by chaos on the ground as local authorities struggled to deal with the scope of the disaster.

    Residents who survived the tower blaze lost everything, only to get little help or information on how they'd get back on their feet.