Grenfell fire safety warnings given ‘months before’ fire
A DOCUMENT from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) and a fire risk assessment (FRA) showed that there were ‘official warnings’ on fire safety before the fatal fire.
ITV News reported on the FRA and the LFEPA document, which it states were ‘the first to reveal there were official warnings about fire safety’ at Grenfell Tower before the fire that killed 72 people in June 2017. The LFEPA’s fire deficiency notice was served in November 2016, while a separate independent FRA was also published from June 2016, both having ‘identified multiple failures’ that ‘required prompt action’ by Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).
The FRA gave deadlines for action at the time, with the assessor writing to KCTMO in October 2016 ‘asking why action still hadn’t been taken on more than 20 issues’ he had identified, and ‘based on inspections’ of the tower after the fire by experts for the ongoing inquiry, ‘there appears to be no evidence action was taken on many of the failings’.
Both audits identified issues with ‘damaged or poorly fitted fire doors’, others that ‘didn’t self-close’, and questions on how the refurbishment had ‘affected the operation of the building’s smoke venting system and the firefighter’s lift controls’. The documents are said to be ‘the first evidence’ that KCTMO ‘received warnings they were legally required to act on’, with the LFEPA notice deadline May 2017, and the FRA recommending action on over 40 ‘high risk’ issues ‘within two to three weeks’.
The warnings from the independent assessor were issued in June 2016, one year before the fire, with deadlines for action. Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council said in a statement: ‘This will be a matter for the public inquiry, and to comment further could risk prejudicing the ongoing police investigation. We do not want to do or say anything that could obstruct the course of justice, because justice is what our residents want the most.
‘Our first thoughts and our last thoughts will always be with those that lost their lives in the Grenfell Tragedy. We have been clear that we want the whole unvarnished truth and we will do all we can to assist, no matter what the consequences are for the council.’