A factory owned by the makers of Grenfell Tower‘s cladding panels has caught fire. Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service was called to the production plant of Arconic in Exeter just before 1.30am on Saturday.
The US firm produces the Reynobond PE panels, used as one component of the west London block’s cladding system during a refurbishment.
It is suspected that the material, which has a plastic, flammable core, helped fuel the blaze in June.
Fire crews called eight fire engines to fight the blaze along with support vehicles. The fire service said: “Due to the potentially serious nature of this incident and knowledge of the type of building involved, fire control made the decision to redirect fire appliances from other lower priority incidents in the area to ensure fire service resources were in attendance as soon as possible.”
The blaze spread to the roof, but eventually firefighters used breathing apparatus to bring the fire under control and extinguished it before 3am. Despite damage to the property, no one was injured in the fire, which the fire service said was started accidentally.
In June, Arconic stopped international sales of Reynobond PE cladding, which was used in Grenfell, for tall buildings. They cited concerns about the “inconsistency of building codes across the world”.
It said in a separate statement that the panels were provided by an installer working on behalf of the contractor for Grenfell Tower.
The company said: “We were not involved in the installation of the system, nor did we have a role in any other aspect of the building’s refurbishment or original design.”
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