More than 800 homes across five tower blocks in a north London housing estate have been evacuated due to “fire safety concerns” over flammable cladding.
As the investigation continues into the Grenfell Tower fire that gutted most of the building’s 127 apartments and claimed at least 79 lives, the Camden Council said it was “block booking hotels” for residents of the Chalcot estate while it carries out urgent fire safety works.
The building was found to have similar cladding to that which fueled the fire at Grenfell Tower which began in a faulty fridge-freezer.
Camden Council said works would begin works to remove the all the combustible thermal cladding
Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “[The fire services] told us they could not guarantee our residents’ safety in those blocks. And so I’ve made the really, really difficult decision to move the people living in there into temporary accommodation while we do the urgent works to guarantee safety. I know it’s difficult but Grenfell changes everything and I just don’t think we can take any risks with our residents’ safety and I have to put them first.”
Gould said the work is expected to take three to four weeks.
She added: “Grenfell changes everything and I don’t believe we can take any risks.”
She said that residents were informed of the decision, which initially only concerned one tower but was soon extended to all five, at a public meeting with council officials on Thursday evening.
Some of the residents, however, said that they were not informed of the evacuation. and that the first they heard of it was on the news.
Shirley Phillips, who lives in one of the tower blocks said: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting. We’ve had the fire brigade here all day, Camden council, police. I had a fire safety check done today, why have they left it until half past eight at night to start getting residents out. Where do they think we’re all going?”
Although the Grenfell Tower fire was revealed to have begun in a faulty fridge-freezer, investigators say it was sustained by combustible cladding and insulation.
Concerns mounted as similar materials were found in further tower blocks across the UK.