Equipment failings hampered London tower block fire rescue

Elias Hubbard
July 9, 2017

London Fire Brigade has increased the number of crews it sends to blazes at high-rise flats following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

A high ladder engine at the scene.

The firefighters were unaware that flames were climbing the exterior cladding of the building, which many experts have said was not fireproof. Firefighters have always been asking for more and higher ladder trucks, which she said could have been a "game changer" at Grenfell. "We've been arguing this for years".

Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a public inquiry into the blaze, the worst in the British capital since World War Two, although survivors and locals have expressed unhappiness with the government's choice of chairman for the probe, saying they were skeptical he would uncover wider issues.

Speaking at the Pride in London parade, Mr Khan said: "The key thing is to not detract from the great work of our fire service and the emergency services".

Mr Matt Wrack, the head of the union, called the Grenfell fire "a really big turning point" in fire-safety awareness. Investigators believe that fire spread rapidly up the building as it consumed the cladding.

The London fire that killed scores of people last month could lead to gross property and liability insurance claims of 50 million pounds ($64.80 million), the company that had insured the property said.

Reinsurance News discussed previously that German-based reinsurance company, Munich Re, is the lead reinsurer for the Grenfell Tower, with Protector's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sverre Bjerkeli, telling Reuters that Munich Re "will pick up nearly the entire cost".

More than 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines were involved in battling the blaze that engulfed the block in North Kensington, west London.

A spokeswoman for the LFB said: "On June 22, an interim change to pre-determined attendance for high-rise buildings was introduced".

In the future, instead of four fire engines being sent immediately, six will be sent, including one "aerial appliance".

Latest figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) reveal that 202 buildings in 55 local authority areas failed combustibility tests rolled out by the Government after the fire.

The Grenfell Tower blaze was started when a fridge caught fire on the fourth floor. "Why didn't they call the fire plane?"

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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