Major Fire Incident | London | 1

NORTH KENSINGTON, LONDON UK

A Major Incident. A Shocking Scene.

An 27-story apartment high-rise called the Lancaster Estate building was engulfed in flames from floor 2 all the way to the top floor close to 0100 hours BST on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 (about 8 hours ahead of West Coast time).

Burning this morning at 0630 hours BST on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. (Photo Credit: London Fire Brigade)

Resources Out in Force

The London Fire Brigade, along with mutual aid from North Kensington, Kensington, Hammersfield and Paddington fire personnel and command staff responded immediately.  Additional Departments also responded from surrounding communities for a total of 200 personnel and 40 engines.

A presser was released in there are 30+ injured and a large number of unaccounted people.  London Ambulance Services had transported about 30 patients to 5 different London hospitals.  They also deployed their HAZMAT unit and Trauma team along with 20 ambulances on the fire ground.

Unconfirmed Cause

Unconfirmed media reports are saying that there was a faulty fridge on floor 4 that caused the fire but the structure is still ablaze.  From our experience here in the States, we know for sure that Investigators will not be able access the building until the fire has been put out and cooled down.

Evacuations

Police have cordoned off 30 flats and evacuated its residents from their homes around the structure.  We are unsure if this is the collapse zone or if they are being proactive should the full structure integrity fail.

Exposures

In looking at live photo coverage, it appears this 27-story building has many exposures on all sides of the building.  In one image, it appears the fully engulfed tower may leaning.  We are hoping the fire will burn itself out and no collapse will occur.

More information to be posted soon.

Could This Have Been Prevented?

We are not firefighters nor are we even Fire Investigators for that matter but we, like many of you consider fire safety a priority in our lives – even teaching others about safety at home and work.  Here in the U.S., we are all about #SeeSomethingSaySomething that goes for anything criminal, dangerous or suspicious, including fire dangers and reporting them to the proper authorities.

It appears that the residents of the Grenfell Tower did just that – over and over again without any action by the landlord or its management representatives.

In this case, this fire was predicted – almost one year ago from a blog posting by the Grenfell Action Group, an organization that has been fighting back on slum housing issues and fire dangers lurking in the Grenfell Tower.  The group has been fighting against the Social Housing Agents Kensington and Chelsea TMO (KCTMO) who own and manage the building.

Red Flags

The Grenfell Action Group appears to be doing some pro-active work on fire prevention but at yet every turn, they have been hit head on with obstacles, excuses and inaction.  One haunting post is that they predicted this very fire back in 2016 and tried to get Management to hear them out.

With us living in the United States, there are many slum housing but this ranks pretty high on our list of being angry this has happened to these people who were innocent.  We can only assume that it was more for the money, then for the care of these residents, which we find disgusting and the whole world should stand up for what is right.

Regardless if this was an accident or intentional, it appears that the group’s multiple haunting echoes of fire danger lurking in their building has now come true and is obviously too late to change for the better.

Here are some  of their postings.  (We have reached out to reprint their story but they do not have any contact information on their Blog.)

Grenfell Tower Fire| https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/grenfell-tower-fire/ (June 14 2017)

Fire Prevention | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/kctmo-feeling-the-heat/ (March 14 2017)

Fire Dangers | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/ (Nov 20 2016)

Requests Ignored | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/why-are-we-waiting/ (June 10 2013)

Unknown Cause of Power Surges | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/grenfell-tower-from-bad-to-worse/ (May 29 2013)

Power Surges Cause Water Shutoff | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/more-trouble-at-grenfell-tower/ (May 28 2013)

Complaints Ignored | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/another-fire-safety-scandal/ (February 21 2013)

Blocking Emergency and Fire Access to the Building | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/more-on-fire-safety/ (June 30 2013)

Fire Safety Scandal  | https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/fire-safety-scandal-at-lancaster-west/ (Jan 28 2013)

We know this topic of affordable housing rights runs deep and cannot understand why other think it is right to allow their residents to live this way.  We say it is shameful and undignified.

Though the cause may or may not be found, we know that from all of these fire safety requests left unanswered, there are more questions as to why or how this inferno could have been started or even prevented in the first place.

– Our prayers and thoughts go out to the Londoners no matter who you are, what race you are or what your worth is – we are here for you. – LR Swenson, Blogger/Writer/Editor

Updates

We will be providing additional updates as information is received. Thank you for joining us

(c) 2017 The NW Fire Blog

 

 

 

 

London Fire Brigade Firehouses Closing But Still Remain on Job

London, England – A news story has been floating around with the scene of a two firefighting hugging, saying their good-byes with the title in large letters that read about closing stations and firefighters losing their jobs.  The article goes on to say that they are cutting 552 jobs.

So, we went on a hunting trip to see just what was going on in the great land of London and how firefighters lives would be forever changing.  

First, we learned that yes, they are closing stations – however, they are no planned layoffs or firings according first hand information received from the London Fire Brigade’s Communication Officer Robert McTaggart.  “

According to a press release received “The Brigade is faced with significant budge cuts which means that changes to the service are inevitable and we are able to make those changes without cupulsory redundancies.  The firefighters based at the stations closing will now transfer to other stations and continue the excellent work they do to prevent fires, which is vital in changing the behaviours that start fires in the first place.”

Members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) voted to approve the London Safety Plan on September 12, 2013.  

Prior to the closures, the Brigade had 169 Fire Engines and 112 Fire Stations.  The Number of Fire engines will be reduced by 14, meaning London will have 155 fire engines and 102 Fire Stations.

Fire Stations located in Belsize, Bow Clerkenwell, Downham, Kingsland, Knightsbridge, Silvertown, Southwark, Westminister and Woodwich will close.

Second fire engines will be removed from Chingford, Clapham, Hayes, Leyton, Leytonstone, Peckham and Whitechapel; while other Fire stations will receive second fire engines at East Greenwich, Heindon, Orpington, Stanmore and Twickenham.

Fire rescue units (specialist rescue vehicles) will be reduce from 16 to 14; from Hornchurch and Millwall.

Firefighters will be reduced from five to four on each crew rig.  The reduction in the number of firefighter posts will be from those who decide to retire or from quitting.

These stations are due to close on midnight Thursday of this week.

“Brigade will remain world-class and Londoners will still be safe”, says Authority Chief, ahead of station closures.

(c) 2014 The NW Fire Blog