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Grenfell Tower Refurbishment: Residents Warned Landlord KCTMO Building Was A Fire Risk

'ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS.'

14/06/2017 12:05 PM IST | Updated 14/06/2017 4:57 PM IST

Residents of the London tower block that went up in flames claiming a number of lives warned KCTMO, the building’s management, that it posed a massive fire risk.

The Grenfell Action Group detailed fears that “only a catastrophic event” would draw attention to the matter in a series of blog posts which began in 2013.

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS via Getty Images
<strong>Police man a security cordon as a huge fire engulfs the Grenfell Tower in west London</strong>

The latest post, written just this morning, reads:

ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.

In January 2016, they wrote:

“It has been very clear for some time to the residents of Grenfell Tower that those responsible for ensuring the smooth running of Lancaster West Estate are failing in their duty of care and wilfully allowing our residential amenity to decline in unacceptable ways.

“Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in our landlords failure to deal with a serious health and safety issue that recently developed at the entrance/exit to Grenfell Tower.”

“This matter is of particular concern as there is only one entry and exit to Grenfell Tower during the Improvement Works and the potential for a fire to break out in the communal area on the walkway does not bear thinking about as residents would be trapped in the building with no way out!”

This issue concerning the exit was attended to but residents’ overall concerns persisted.

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS via Getty Images
<strong>Firefighters react as they attend the scene.</strong>

In another post written in November 2016, they said:

“It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO (Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation), and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.

“The Grenfell Action Group believe that the KCTMO narrowly averted a major fire disaster at Grenfell Tower in 2013 when residents experienced a period of terrifying power surges that were subsequently found to have been caused by faulty wiring.”

The earliest post, from 2013, details a fire risk Assessment of Grenfell Tower in which concerns are raised about maintenance checks not being carried out.

HuffPost UK have so far being unable to reach KCTMO (Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation) for comment. 

Forty engines were called to the 27-storey Grenfell Tower at just after 1.15am on Wednesday, on the Lancaster West Estate, north Kensington.

Thirty people have been taken to hospital and there are reports of people being trapped in the building.

Police said a “number of people are being treated for a range of injuries”, including two for smoke inhalation, as pictures from the scene showed flames engulfing most of the block.

The cause of the fire has not yet been established.

Actor and writer Tim Downie, who lives around 600 metres from the scene in Latimer Road, told the Press Association he feared the block could collapse.

He said: “It’s horrendous. The whole building is engulfed in flames. It’s gone. It’s just a matter of time before this building collapses.

“I just hope they have got everyone out.

“The first I knew was the noise of sirens, helicopters and shouting. I saw it engulfed in flames.

“People have been bringing water, clothes, anything they’ve got to help, out to the cordon.

“I have seen people coming out in their bedclothes - it’s just very distressing.”

Residents are continuing to be evacuated from the tower block, the Metropolitan Police said.

Fire crews from north Kensington, Kensington, Hammersmith and Paddington and surrounding stations were at the scene.

The cause of the fire is not known at this stage, London Fire Brigade said.

Fabio Bebber wrote on Twitter: “More screams for help as the fire spreads to another side of the building.

“We can see how quick the fire spreads via the external panels. It’s unbearable hearing someone screaming for their lives at #grenfelltower.”

George Clarke, who presents the Channel 4 TV show Amazing Spaces, told Radio 5 Live: “I was in bed and heard ‘beep, beep, beep’ and thought, ‘I’ll get up and run downstairs as quickly as I could’.

“I thought it might be a car alarm outside and saw the glow through the windows.

“I’m getting covered in ash, that’s how bad it is. I’m 100 metres away and I’m absolutely covered in ash.

“It’s so heartbreaking, I’ve seen someone flashing their torches at the top level and they obviously can’t get out.

“The guys are doing an incredible job to try and get people out that building, but it’s truly awful.”

Celeste Thomas, who lives near the scene, said: “Police moving everyone back. I literally live across the road. Hundreds of people outside. Residents and families trying to find each other.

“Police have moved everyone back out of direct sight but can hear cracking and debris falling.”

London Fire Brigade assistant commissioner Dan Daly said: “Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are working extremely hard in very difficult conditions to tackle this fire.

“This is a large and very serious incident and we have deployed numerous resources and specialist appliances.”

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