Grenfell fire door lasts ‘half as long’ in test as expected
TESTS BY police have found that one of the front doors for a flat in the tower ‘was supposed to hold back fire for 30 minutes’ but ‘lasted 15 minutes’.
The Guardian reported on the investigations by detectives investigating the Grenfell Tower fire last year, which found that the front door to one of the flats on a lower floor ‘failed fire tests’. The door ‘could only withstand fire for 15 minutes when it was meant to withstand 30’, with Housing Secretary Sajid Javid informed of the test results ahead of a statement to the House of Commons today.
Families affected by the fire were sent a letter by Scotland Yard to ‘inform them of the development’, which stated that ‘independent experts have advised that the risk to public safety is low, and that evidence from the suspected issue does not change that assessment’. It was not clear whether other doors were ‘of the same type’, with further investigation needed to ‘establish if the heat in the rest of the building may have compromised its fire resistance prior to the test’.
In response, Kensington and Chelsea Council ‘acknowledged’ that the doors tested had ‘provided less protection than guidelines recommend’, but called the results ‘inconclusive’, as well as suggesting that wider safety implications ‘were not yet clear’. A spokesperson commented: ‘We understand this news will be of particular concern to residents in this borough, which is why we are urging the Government to move as quickly as it can to give us clarity about the situation.’
A police spokesman added: ‘We have previously described that our forensic examination at the scene would be followed by a phase of offsite testing to be conducted by experts on our behalf. A part of this investigation experts tested a flat front door taken from Grenfell Tower. The door tested was designed to resist fire for up to 30 minutes but during the test it was only found to resist the fire for approximately 15 minutes – a much shorter period than expected.
‘The forensic examination and the testing phase is ongoing and we are not unable to comment as to the potential impact or otherwise that any test result may have on the overall criminal investigation. We have shared our information with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as the appropriate government departments, so they are able to take any action required.’