Grenfell Tower fire: Residents warned of potential 'major disaster' in 2016 blog post

Some 200 firefighters are battling the flames and many residents are unaccounted for

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 14 June 2017 09:37
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London fire: Flames engulf Grenfell Tower in Kensington

Residents of the London tower block engulfed by a devastating fire on Wednesday morning are believed to have warned of alleged safety problems as recently as the end of last year.

Members of an action group at Grenfell Tower wrote that they believed the building posed a fire risk, and that "only a catastrophic event will expose" the issues after their concerns fell on "deaf ears".

Flames and smoke engulfed the tower in Kensington from the second to the 27th floor, according to the London Fire Brigade (LFB), which sent 200 firefighters to the blaze at about 1am.

In November 2016 residents wrote on the Grenfell Action Group website that they feared such a fire could break out and warned of the potential for a "major disaster".

Following the fire, the group posted: "All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time."

It claimed access to the building was "severely restricted" for emergency services and other vehicles and that residents had been advised to stay in their flats in case of fire.

One witness told the BBC the advice had been to wait in residences for up to an hour in case of fire. He ignored that advice and fled with his family, and said he believed he "would have perished" if he had not done so.

The Independent has contacted the block's managers, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, for comment.

More than 50 people have been taken to five hospitals across the capital, London Ambulance Service said, but other residents are unaccounted for.

Some are thought to have died, according to LFB.

Additional reporting by agencies

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