Grenfell Tower blaze results in dozens of fatalities

A major fire at the recently-refurbished Grenfell Tower in west London has resulted in several deaths, and over 50 injuries.

The 24-storey block suffered severe damage which rapidly spread through many of the 120 flats, and there are fears the building is at risk of collapse. Eyewitnesses reported many residents trapped in their homes.

Grenfell Tower, which is part of Lancaster West Estate built in 1974 by Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, falls under a borough-wide regeneration project and was reclad last year, with Rydon as main contractor. The two-year £10m refurbishment was managed by Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) on behalf of the council. A communal heating system was installed in addition to rain screen cladding, replacement windows and curtain wall facades.

The BBC reported that the local Grenfell Action Group had claimed, before and during the refurbishment that the block constituted a fire risk, and residents had warned that access to the site for emergency vehicles was “severely restricted”.

A structural engineer has been called in to monitor the structural safety of the building.

Image courtesy of Natalie Oxford