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4 years ago

Grenfell Tower Death Toll Rises to 17; U. K. Government Is Criticized -

Grenfell Tower Death Toll Rises to 17; U. K. Government Is Criticized -
LONDON — With the death toll from a horrific London fire rising and many residents still unaccounted for, Prime Minister Theresa May — under pressure from critics — on Thursday ordered a formal inquiry into the disaster
that turned an apartment tower into a smoldering ruin.
“The only alarm that went off was my neighbor’s smoke alarm,” said Eddie Daffarn, a 16th-floor resident and member of the Grenfell Action Group.
“We realize that a lot of people are still incredibly concerned about their loved ones who are still unaccounted for
and our priority is to do the best for those waiting for news of their relatives and friends,” the London Fire Brigade commissioner, Dany Cotton, said in a statement on Thursday.
And should older buildings — Grenfell Tower was completed in 1974 — have to be retrofitted with sprinklers and alarm systems?
A residents’ association, the Grenfell Action Group, had complained for years
that concerns about fire hazards in Grenfell Tower were ignored by the building’s owner — the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea — and by the company the borough council hired to manage it.
“If you have good fire resistance between flats, there is less risk if you stay in place than if everyone runs out of the
building at the same time,” Sian Berry, chairwoman of the Housing Committee of the London Assembly, said in an interview.