Two Bootle high-rise flats fail cladding fire tests

Monday, 26 Jun, 2017

Camden council representatives talk as they help residents as they are evacuated from the Burnham residential tower block on the Chalcots Estate, in the borough of Camden, north London, Friday, June 23, 2017.

Britain's housing safety scandal intensified on Saturday as officials confirmed that 27 tower blocks in 15 council areas of England had failed fire safety tests.

Communities secretary Sajiv Javid said it was very important for local authorities and housing associations to continue to submit such samples as a matter of urgency in the light of the results.

Camden Council said it made a decision to evacuate the buildings on the Chalcots Estate late on Friday after fire inspectors told officials that the blocks were "not safe for people to sleep in overnight".

The Burnham residential tower block on the Chalcots Estate in north London, where five residential towers have been identified as having combustible cladding.

But Ms Ryan said she was "appalled" that it was in a state of disrepair when they arrived and returned to her north London home despite Camden Council warning residents "must leave".

People living in 20 flats on the estate were still refusing to vacate their homes late on Saturday evening as the local authority warned it could explore legal routes to "require people to leave their homes". "But I don't know nothing, no one's really told us what's going on", one resident said.

"It's unbelievable. I understand that it's for our safety but they can't just ask us to evacuate with such short notice".

The evacuation occurred after news emerged that similar cladding was used on the Chalcots Estate to that which spread the deadly fire in Kensington's Grenfell Tower earlier this month. "The Grenfell fire changes everything - we need to do everything we can to keep residents safe".

The Department for Communities said in a statement that 60 high rise buildings across 25 local authority areas had now failed the tests.

The party has also called on the Government to establish a fund to compensate those forced to leave their homes due to fire safety fears.

Officials said Friday that the blaze started in a faulty refrigerator, but the cladding installed during a recent multimillion-dollar refurbishment of Grenfell Tower is believed to have exacerbated the inferno, which consumed almost all 24 floors in about an hour.

Evacuated residents faced chaos, with temporary accommodation offered in a local leisure center and hotels, but some refused to move.

He said he wanted to reassure residents that "everything that can be done is being done to protect them, their families and their homes".

"My thoughts are with residents being evacuated in Camden while their homes are made safe tonight", she said via her official UK Prime Minister account.

Residents in more than 850 flats have been told cladding will be removed from their tower blocks.

Ten fire engines and 72 firefighters were battling a blaze in east London on Saturday after flames engulfed a third-floor apartment in a low-rise block of buildings, injuring one man who was taken to hospital.

Police announced they were considering filing manslaughter charges and have launched a criminal investigation which will look at every company that was involved with the building and renovation of the tower.

"In some cases it's possible to take mitigating action", she told Sky news.

"You don't get everyone to leave this quickly".