Sunday, June 18, 2017

Grenfell Tower Fire in West London: What Happened, Why, And Who Is to Blame? (REACTION)

On Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 - Grenfell Tower in West London caught ablaze and as many as 600 people could be deceased although the current death toll (June 17 2017) is at around 60. This has caused an outrage from people who live in and around the area and all across the UK especially London due to the handling of the situation both before and after.

The first issue here is the recent £10million renovation to the 24 story high-rise council-owned (project building). Most of the money was spent beautifying the structure with aluminum cladding which is sort of a “skin” affixed on top of the existing building to make the exterior look different. Under the cladding, insulation was also added possibly as a cost-cutting measure or an environmentalist green-energy measure. Then there was the lack of any sprinkler system added which would have cost less than £200 thousand, a fraction of the cost of the entire renovation. The excuse given for it was that the sprinklers may not have helped and that residents resisted sprinklers being added because it would have taken too long, which many view as placing the blame upon the victims. Lastly, the fire itself was handled improperly. Protocol tells fire and rescue to tell people to stay put in their apartment during a fire. The reasoning behind this is that if a fire breaks out in one apartment, the goal is to contain it there and extinguish it.

Following proper protocol may have cost hundreds of people their lives due to the renovation which was just completed last year. The aluminum cladding that was utilized is actually banned in the U.S. because they are a fire hazard. Add that on top of the design of the building and the renovation itself. There is a space in between the cladding and the old wall where the insulation goes which behaves as a chimney since air also fills that space alongside the insulation. Both the insulation and cladding are flammable. So the effect in this situation was for the outside of the building to rapidly catch fire which set ignited the interior as it spread. Staying put in one’s apartment was the wrong thing to do because the fire could not be contained to one unit due to it spreading on the outside being fed by the ultimate flammable mix of an air pocket, insulation, and flammable cladding.

Protests have started by concerned onlookers and families of loved ones missing and rightfully so.