36 thoughts on “KCTMO – Playing with fire!”

  1. It appears that the recently added cladding ( purely cosmetic ? ) was not non flammable.

  2. 27 stories high and no separate fire exit staircases. No fire suppressant system, no block fire alarms.
    sounds like criminal negligence to me!
    Plus the idiot fire brigade told residents to stay in their flats for half an hour whilst the fire spread. By then it was too late for a lot of the upper floors to exit.

    I have been it two large scale fires in my twenties. A hospital which went up in Exeter and a Hotel in Memphis. Believe you me getting out through thick smoke is no fun at all!!!
    Memphis,the windows would not open, the chair would not go through the glass. Got out stark naked in a fur coat with passport, money and jewellery, plus a wet bandana round my face, crawled out, the bottom foot of space which is never as smokey.
    I learnt never to take a room above the fifth floor in a hotel or apartment block. They can’t get the hoses any higher. I have refused several jobs as they were too high up in location..
    Never going to be caught again on that one. Twice in a lifetime is more than enough.
    I never run domestic electrical equipment at night. The thought of being burnt in my bed is just too much.

    Poor people, death trap housing and inept fire department. I wonder how many corpses they’ll drag out of there. Too damned many.

  3. This is from the company website.

    “Externally, rain screen cladding, curtain wall façade and replacement windows were fitted, improving thermal insulation and modernising the exterior of the building.

    Internally, lower floor space was remodelled to incorporate extra new homes as well as a nursery, which was relocated from another part of the building. A completely new heating system was installed, which contributes to reducing living costs of residents.”


    I would be cautious about jumping to conclusions laying blame with anybody just yet. While the Grenfell blog was posted in November 16, it concerns the whole community not just Grenfell Tower which was refurbished in May 2016. £8.7 million was spent. Clearly somebody was trying to improve conditions.

    The trouble to day is that there are so many pressure groups demanding different things. You have Health and Safety competing with the Greens competing with the politicians, competing with Human Rights etc. Some want safety with no expense of aesthetic spared. Others want environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. Others want low costs. Others want to luxury at no cost to themselves. I cannot imagine that the recent refurbishments were not approved by the various licensing authorities.

    For all we know at this stage, it was sabotage. There appear to be a lot of Muslims in that block and this could have been a revenge attack. Whatever the cause, let’s wait and find out what the investigators have to say.

    But I am puzzled that people choose to go on living in a place that they believe to be an extremely dangerous fire hazard as is evidenced by the author of the blog.

  4. I have just read that it is thought that it started from a faulty fridge in one of the lower floors.. Domestic appliances in the UK seem to be hideously dodgy these days. All these dryer fires etc.
    From the appearance of the fire with its vertical exterior spreading it is apparent that the new cladding was not fire proof.

  5. Christina. Where is the link for Fire Brigade telling residents to stay put for 30 min ? If true I’d like to promulgate it.

  6. It was in a newspaper, either the lead article in the Mail or the Telegraph. Try the Mail first. Pretty standard I gather in the UK. Reverse in the USA where far more timber is used in apartment blocks which go up like Roman candles in minutes.

    Once saw an apartment fire from a shopping precinct in Memphis, across the car park. didn’t think anything of it. Went in to do my shopping, came out 15 minutes later and the whole roof of the whole block had imploded, gone completely! That was with the fire dept in attendance. It is pretty standard practise to merely try to contain the fire from spreading to other buildings. The one on fire is doomed anyway. Would you believe built with no fire walls between units!!! You had better be out in the first five minutes or you’re toast!

  7. Reported in the Telegraph , live column at 4.08.

    Residents might have died after being told to stay inside flats

    It has emerged that a number of residents may have perished in the fire after being told to stay inside their flats by the emergency services, reports senior reporter Patrick Sawer.

    Francis Dean, 47, said his sister Zainab told him on the phone she had been instructed to remain in her 14th floor flat with her two year old son Jeremiah by firefighters.

    He told The Telegraph: “My sister called me to say there was a fire in the tower. I told her to leave by the stairs, but she said she had been told to stay inside her flat. That was in the early hours of today and I’ve not heard from her since. I fear the worst.”

    Mr Dean, who works for a distribution firm, said that at one stage a fire fighter borrowed his phone and spoke to Zainab.

    “He told her to keep calm and that they were coming to get her. He kept saying that to her again and again,” he said. “But then he handed me the phone and said to me ‘Tell her you love her’. I knew then to fear the worst. The phone went dead and I couldn’t talk to her.”

  8. Interesting article in the Guardian about stay put advice.

    I realise I missed a bullet last year when I sold the boy’s apt. in Brum. One of the reasons was a major overhaul. New plastic windows and exterior cladding!!!!
    No doubt rendering the place into a potential death trap.
    Evidently so many blocks of apartments may have had this treatment in recent years in the UK, all with this cladding. Did no one run it past a material engineer for analysis before they used it?
    Brings into doubt the competency of the architects the structural engineers the owners of the blocks. Talk about gross negligence.
    Totally beyond.
    And of course the bloody chinese making an inferior not fit for purpose product in the first place.

  9. This makes interesting reading. Siobhan Rumble was TMO for Grenfell. The blogger spefically refers to her.

    Here is her linked in account. She makes a virtue of the fact that she successfully cut costs.


    Neighbourhood Manager & Income Manager for TMO
    Company NameKensington & Chelsea TMO
    Dates EmployedNov 2011 – Present Employment Duration5 yrs 8 mos
    I am the Housing Manager for Lancaster West, however I was also asked to take over the Income Team in November 2012, therefore carry out a dual role. since takoing over the income team we have had over 100% collection rate for 18 months now, Februarys being 100.74%, how do ido it… keeping it real, making sure we cover the basics

    LOOKING FOR A NEW CHALLENGE Having just super exceeded my targets in income recovery bringing KCTMO arrears to below a million (984k) the first time ever, I am looking for a new challenge, do bear me in mind if you have any vacancies.

  10. sipu, one on the way up at whatever cost and price seemingly.
    Be interesting to see if her career survives this fiasco. I expect so, management appears to be teflon in the UK.
    For once I rather admire the chinese way of doing it. Remember the melamine scandal in the baby formula and dog food. The authorities hauled them out of their company offices and shot them on the spot. Splendid.

  11. Buried elsewhere under the sadly more frequent, yet increasingly shallow, media grief fest, Tim Farron has resigned as leader of the LimpDums. To coin a previous political catchphrase (and admittedly in incredibly bad taste in the circumstances) it really is a bad day for good news.


  12. If you do a street view of the area on google earth, this type of cladding covers the front of most of the high street. More importantly, watching the reports by Victoria Derbyshire yesterday, the school to the left of the tower seemed to be covered in this stuff.

  13. Jazz, I think the cladding is supposed to provide increased insulation as it has a foam like material behind the outer surface. According to people on the scene, it is this insulation material that is scattered everywhere round the area.

  14. It would appear that there have been concerns about this for many years – indeed as far back as 1999. Part of the idea of the cladding was, as James has said, for insulation and in part to improve the ‘image’ of the building.

    It would seem that there was a similar fire in Melbourne a few years ago – and certainly some of the images I have seen seem to show the fire running up the outside of the building, which had the same sort of cladding – and there are many others here with the same stuff.

    Yet another ‘good idea’ (like diesel cars and global warming) where a bunch of people try to solve a problem (in this case lack of proper insulation in older buildings) but don’t bother to check whether their quick-fix solutions are practical, safe and do not, inadvertently, cause more problems than they solve.

  15. So, once again, the elephant in the room is there does not seem to be above a sprinkling of indigenous white Brits in this building. How come Syrian refugee student brothers get given a flat in central London? Every single person interviewed is a foreigner. Does no white person ever rise on the housing list? Seemingly not.
    Somewhat ironic to escape poverty and violence in their home countries to end up immolated in Central London.
    Perhaps deportation might be a little easier on the body and soul?……….

  16. James: Thanks for that it hadn’t occured to me that you could enhance a building’s insulation by applying stuff to the outside of it. Judicious googling has shown that this is a common practice.

    Jeremy Corbin is having a great time going around hugging everybody suggesting that they take over nearby unoccupied dwellings. He really is contemptible, there’s no tragedy from which he won’t try to wring some advantage.

  17. Reading Christina’s comment got me wondering just how much of the rent in Grenfell Tower was being paid by us, the taxpayers. I’m interested to see what the fire investigators say. The man whose fridge exploded apparently made no effort to extinguish the blaze but packed up his own belongings before he warned a neighbour. Wonder what was in his suitcase. I expect we’ll have to buy him a new fridge.

    Perhaps I’m feeling extra twitchy and uncharitable, having had to sit in a tube carriage yesterday in the Piccadilly line tunnel between Russell Square and Kings Cross with the power switched off while someone, whom our driver described as a lunatic who had “gone walkabout” in the tunnel, was pursued. We were warned we might have to detrain and walk back to Russell Square along the track. The driver, having asked any off-duty police or rail staff to make themselves known, kept everything as light-hearted as possible, but every passenger was aware just what sort of lunatic might be involved and, given that the Piccadilly is one of the deep lines, was wondering what was the purpose of this walkabout. It’s nothing compared to being trapped in a fire, I know, but it was very frightening all the same. Passengers kept exchanging nervous smiles.

    I’m really amazed at the advice given by the firefighters that tenants should stay in their homes. When the idiot in the flat below ours managed to set fire to the place while smoking in bed, I rang 999 and was told to get out immediately. Wrapping our three-month old son in a blanket and carrying my handbag, I fled in pyjamas and dressing gown.

  18. Oh sheona, right there with you on the fast exit!
    When the hospital fire alarms went off I was busy having a miscarriage. Notwithstanding what was going on down below, I was out of that bed in only an open hospital gown, rear exposed and out of that door like a flash! Actually more a totter! I have no idea if anyone actually said anything to me, I wouldn’t have listened anyway! Couldn’t make it very far, just to the lawns, found myself a big tree and collapsed at its base. All hell let loose, would you believe, the higher the floor the less ambulant the patients! The top floor was occupied by babies. The nurses fled up and down the exterior fire escape with armfuls of the little buggers. They had no where to put them. I shouted at one and told her to leave it with me, they were all swaddled in their bedclothes, these were newborns etc. They propped them up like a series of Russian dolls, God knows how many there were, a dozen or more until they had all of them out. Then an ambulance collected the lot and me.and off we were carried to another hospital The irony of life wasn’t wasted on me at the time, but over the years considering the state of me and them I have found it increasingly funny. Perhaps I just have a ghastly sense of humour. It certainly never occurred to me to have a trauma or need ‘counseling’ I do think people today are bloody pathetic in their inadequacy. Life’s great motto, is SHIT HAPPENS, get on with it!
    Needless to say the Grenfell tower mob will not be the stiff upper lip brigade but the let it all hang out battalion and will no doubt have a riot, loot and throw molotov cocktails this summer.
    Ain’t life grand?

    At least in the hotel fire I had graduated to a fur coat, money and jewellery! Even if I had no knickers!!

  19. Now then, as reported by Fox News, a very right wing organisation.

    Explosions subsequently heard during the tower fire were explosives going up, Inferring bomb makers lived there.

    I wonder if that is fake news or just been withheld from the UK papers and media?

    Or was it just gas supplies going up? If indeed there was gas in the building, There isn’t gas in a lot of tower blocks for fear of fire they are all electric. Most are all electric in Brum.

  20. Christina: it would seem that you are not alone in your comment re the ‘elephant in the room’. I’ve just read a comment from a reader in the DM to the effect that he / she wishes “the survivors a safe flight home.”

    Corbyn & Co are milking this for all they are worth.

  21. Reporting on the whole tragic event is being micro managed I believe, on one hand for political gain or to minimize political damage while on the other to increase the importance and dependence of the general public on the news being provided by the media.

    Simple mathematics say 24 floors with six flats on each at an average occupancy level of 2.5 equals 360 people. There’s 60 being treated in hospital, fire crews are saying they got between eighty and a hundred out, there’s got to be over a hundred dead or missing. However, one of the reasons that I think news is being carefully managed, is that in the early hours of the morning,in one of the live coverage television reports said that the block was reckoned to be home to between four and five hundred people. I haven’t heard anyone use that figure since but even that figure would only require an average occupancy each flat of around three and a half.
    Yesterday morning on”Breakfast” there was a government minister being interviewed and he was being (understandably) pressed as to what action the government were going to take. His response was that there would be a very rapid assessment process of similar blocks, within days and not weeks and the government would follow and implement that advice no matter what. I believe the figure quoted was that there are more than two hundred “similar” buildings that needed surveying. The interviewer then said “So you’ve got over two hundred buildings that you know to be unsafe and you are prepared to risk peoples lives by letting them continue to live in them before the work to make them them safe is carried out?”

    Two hundred blocks, containing one hundred and twenty flat totals eighty thousand homes. So does this interviewer think that the Government can suddenly magic up eighty thousand dwellings, then magic up enough removal companies to instantly transport eighty thousand families to them and at the same time also magic up enough plumbers to fit eighty thousand sprinklers systems, enough fire door fitters and fire alarm installation engineers to instantly carry out the required safety works?

    So did he ask this question in order to try and get an answer that he thought would help dispel the immediate and very real fears that people living in this situation may be feeling or was it asked to use this occasion in an abysmal attempt aggrandise his reputation as a “tough” interviewer? I suggest the latter rather than the former to be the case.

  22. Janus, How many people who lived here and are missing would not have contacted someone by now if they were still alive? Is this an attempt to lessen the public reaction to what is a huge loss of life by drip feeding the figures rather that saying “we believe there are X people missing, most of whom are presumed to have died?

  23. Jazz: I suspect a few others are asking the same question. I find it sad to think I am so cynical – but, alas, I am.

    James: It is a catastrophe – no doubt about it. A catastrophe brought about by penny-pinching councils tasked to enact (as far as I can see) EU legislation – and under pressure to keep expenditure down from the same people who are now protesting to keep what they pay in rates as low as possible.

    As to your calculations and questions – I will give you the answer that I get so often to those sort of questions – don’t be so b*dy logical! Of course, the media interviewer is only out to make a name for himself.

    There is, however, something that all councils could do immediately – and that is to provide every one of those blocks with, to begin with, fire extinguishers on every floor – extending that to extinguishers for every flat. One has, of course, to hope that the said residents have the necessary nouse to use them….

  24. I just don’t buy the ‘exploding fridge theory’. The core of the cladding may flammable but it is sandwiched between aluminium so though not fire proof it would take some effort to make it burn as it did. The exploding fridge was inside the building so how come it caused the cladding on the outside to ignite and burn so rapidly.
    There has to be another reason for the blaze.

  25. Jazz – I don’t buy the ‘exploding’ fridge theory either – just what is there in a fridge that would cause it to catch fire?

    Having had a fridge that was stuffed full of paper in the back where all the electrical gumph is situated when we moved – and then, not unreasonably, blew the fuse shortly after we plugged it in – I really fail to see how any fridge can ‘catch’ fire. As I recall, in the UK plugs have internal fuses – unlike here when a faulty appliance blows one of the main fuses.

    Perhaps someone with a bit more knowledge can enlighten me as to just how a fridge can ‘catch fire’.

  26. Boadicea, perhaps it depends what you keep in your fridge. But I have read that the Beko range of household appliances do have a habit of bursting into flames.

  27. Modern ‘fridges/freezers use hydrocarbons, (butane, pentane, heptane), as refrigerants.

  28. All electric appliances can overheat and catch fire. Once the plastic windows were ignited the cladding could catch too.

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