Residents of five towers in London have been told to evacuate their apartments over safety fears, as the British capital still mourns the deadly Grenfell Tower inferno that killed at least 79 people last week.
Camden Council said Friday that it was going to remove people from 800 households in the Chalcots Estate and take them to a rest center until the current cladding on the building was replaced with fire retardant material.
The decision came after a report found that the cladding material used on the tower was similar to that of the Grenfell.
“Together we decided that the Taplow block needs to be temporarily decanted while we undertake urgent fire safety works so that residents can be fully assured of their safety,” Council chief Georgia Gould said.
“The Grenfell fire changes everything – we need to do everything we can to keep residents safe,” she added, noting that the process might take three to four weeks.
UK Police completed their investigation into the recent deadly block fire in London on Friday and said they will press “manslaughter” charges against the main culprits for using banned material on the 24-story building.
Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack, who led the probe, said although the fire was initially caused by a faulty fridge, it was the insulation and cladding tiles that had spread the blaze.
The investigation found that the aluminum composite tiles used in the cladding and the insulation behind them had failed safety tests and helped the fire grow, she added.
“Preliminary tests show the insulation samples collected from Grenfell Tower combusted soon after the tests started. The initial test on the cladding tiles also failed the safety tests,” McCormack noted.
“We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards, we are looking at every health and safety and fire safety offences and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower,” the police added.
Camden Council said at first that it was only going to evacuate 161 households from the Chalcots Estate’s Taplow Block tower but later on decided to include all the towers there.
Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid has warned the UK Parliament that high-rise blocks in eight local authority areas in England use the same cladding as Grenfell Tower.