It’s been estimated that hundreds of tower blocks in England could be covered in similar cladding to Glenfell Tower. So far tests have revealed that combustible cladding has been found on at least three tower blocks across the UK.
Prime Minister Theresa May had ordered inspections of 600 high-rise buildings across Britain, after a massive fire in Grenfell Tower left at least 79 people dead and over 70 injured. Dozens more are missing and presumed dead. Workers were seen removing highly flammable cladding from a tower in North London. The materials are similar to those used in the Grenfell high-rise, despite the fact the cladding is banned in the U.S. and Europe.
The June 14th fire started in the 24-storey, 220-foot high tower block of public housing flats in North Kensington, west London. The tower contained 127 flats, with 227 bedrooms. The fire started in a faulty fridge-freezer in a fourth-floor flat. The building’s recently added exterior cladding is believed to have played a role in the speed at which the fire spread.
Documents show that aluminium composite material (ACM) was used in Grenfell Tower’s rainscreen cladding. ACM is essentially a sandwich of two aluminium sheets with materials for insulation inside. ACM panels often have a polyethylene core, which can be highly flammable. It is not yet clear whether this material was used in Grenfell Tower’s cladding.
Hundreds of firefighters and 45 fire engines were involved in efforts to control the fire which burned for 60 hours until it was finally extinguished. Many firefighters continued to attempt to control pockets of fire on the higher floors after most of the rest of the building had been gutted. Residents of surrounding buildings were evacuated due to concerns that the tower could collapse, though the building was later determined to be structurally sound.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced a $5 million fund for victims of the fire; all those made homeless were to receive an initial down payment of $5,500, with each household to be given at least $500 in cash and $5,000 paid into an account. On June 21st, the government announced that 68 new flats in the same borough as Grenfell Tower are to be made available to survivors of the fire.