London Underground stations closed amid concern of safety of Grenfell Tower

Transport for London said the move had been made ‘at the request of the London Fire Brigade’

Greg Wilford
Saturday 17 June 2017 14:11 BST
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People were stopped from entering Ladbroke Grove station 'owing to the safety of the tower'
People were stopped from entering Ladbroke Grove station 'owing to the safety of the tower'

Transport for London have partly suspended the Circle Line amid safety concerns following the Grenfell Tower fire which left at least 30 people dead and sparked protests in west London.

No service is running between Aldgate and Edgware Road due to “planned engineering work and the recent fire in the Latimer Road area”, according to TfL's official status updates.

The Hammersmith and City Line has been suspended between Edgware Road and Hammersmith due to the blaze four days ago, TfL said.

Grenfell Tower fire: Protesters storm Kensington Town Hall

A sign at Ladbroke Grove station said “owing to the safety of the Tower” the lines had been partly suspended.

The sign greeting passengers at Ladbroke Grove

TfL revealed the move had been made “at the request of the London Fire Brigade (LFB)”, who later said it was due to the risk of debris falling from Grenfell Tower on to the tracks rather than concerns about the structural integrity of the building.

LFB officials said that teams are working to secure the debris so the lines can be reopened as soon as possible.

Firefighters will work over the coming days to shore up the tower block as they continue to search for bodies, according to Commissioner of London Fire Brigade Dany Cotton.

She said: “Our specialist urban search and rescue (USAR) crews are currently working to make the block safe so our firefighters can continue to progress throughout the building, making a detailed, fingertip search, for anyone who may still be inside. This will be a slow and painstaking process which will require a large amount of shoring up work inside the building, especially on the upper floors, which will be the most challenging for us to access and search.”

No more survivors are expected to be found, and the death toll is expected to rise to as high as 70 during the coming weeks.

Grenfell Tower residents complained two years ago about the refurbishment of the building being done “using cheap materials” and workmanship that “cut corners”, The Independent can reveal.

They later claimed that Conservative-led Kensington and Chelsea Council, owner of the building consumed by fire on Wednesday, had done nothing to address their concerns.

Surfacing days after the catastrophic blaze, the allegations are likely to fuel claims that cost-cutting might have been put before safety.

They come amid reports that cladding used in the refurbishment contained a flammable plastic core, of a kind allegedly banned in the US for buildings taller than 40ft, despite a fire-resistant alternative costing only about £5,000 extra.

Numerous survivors of the blaze have claimed the exterior cladding was linked to the way the fire spread so rapidly up the outside of the tower, with one describing the flames “coming up really fast, because of the cladding, [which] just caught up like a matchstick.”

The Independent has contacted the council and Tenet Management Organisation (TMO) for comment, but it was not immediately clear whether any action was ever taken to look into the residents’ complaints.

They could also anger community members who have demanded answers about what caused the blaze, that left at least 30 dead and dozens more injured. At least 70 people remain unaccounted for.

Protests erupted across London on in the wake of the disaster, with victims and other angry Londoners uniting in outrage at the failings that led to the blaze.

Scores of people also forced their way into North Kensington Town Hall to deliver a list of demands, including the immediate re-housing of all victims within the borough.

Questions were raised over the cladding used to cover the tower block, which was reportedly cheaper and more flammable than another option available to the supplier.

Theresa May has ordered an independent public inquiry into the disaster.

Additional reporting by agencies

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