Thursday, June 22, 2017

Grenfell Tower Action Group Say: 'We Will Continue to Speak for Victims in Death' in New Blog Post
Residents of the west London flats predicted a 'catastrophic event' just seven months ago

16:51, 20 JUN 2017

The Grenfell Tower action group, who predicted a 'catastrophic event' just seven months ago, has vowed to continue to 'speak for victims in death'.

The group of residents slammed the council and tenant management organisation who ran the building in a new blog post, branding them 'complacent, negligent and incompetent'.

In their damning blog post just months ago, they suggested that fire safety issues in the blog could lead to a fatal and deadly fire.

And in a new post on Monday, entitled 'Grenfell Tower - The KCTMO Culture Of Negligence', the group flagged up fire safety issues which they claim would have prevented Wednesday's catastrophic blaze, and paid tribute to their friends and neighbours who lost their lives.

The action group said: "The many who lost their lives in this catastrophe were our friends and neighbours.

"We tried to speak for them in life and we will continue to speak for them now.

"We share the pain of the homeless, the injured and the bereaved to whom we offer our heartfelt sympathy, condolences and solidarity.

"We also share the sense of anger and injustice that has troubled this community for years.

"That is why we started this blog and that is why we will continue as we started, speaking truth to power whether or not they choose to listen."

They have emphasised the role of the flammable cladding on the exterior of the tower in 'spreading and accelerating what began as a single dwelling fire with such rapidity that the entire interior of the 24-storey building became a raging inferno in less than an hour'.

The group claim it was introduced to 'pimp up' the appearance of the tower so 'it wouldn't spoil the image of creeping gentrification that the Council are intent on creating, here and throughout the rest of North Kensington'.

In the blog post, they claim that in 2005, the emergency lighting system in the staircase at Grenfell Tower was found to be 'in a dangerous state of disrepair' after the estate management's board received leaked information.

After inspecting the lighting, it was found that two-thirds of the lighting units were not working.

The Action Group said: "This strongly suggested that the contractors who were responsible for inspecting the emergency lighting system had been falsifying their inspection certificates for several years and giving the system a clean bill of health.

"The reality was that the system had been badly neglected for years and by 2004 two thirds of the lighting units were non-functional because the battery packs that powered them were too old, worn out, and useless."

Following an independent report by Peter West of Capita Symonds Ltd, there was a thorough overhaul of all emergency lighting systems at Lancaster West Estate and throughout the entire borough.

Later, the group acquired the tower's fire risk assessment from November 2012, which the group felt gave 'serious cause for concern'.

The report said: "The fire extinguishers in this building, the basement boiler room, the lift motor room, the ground floor electrical room plus other areas were out of test date according to the contractors label on the extinguishers.

"The last test date was on the 8th August 2011. Some located in the roof level areas had "condemned" written on them in large black writing with a last test date of 2009 or 2010.

"This seems to indicate that monthly occupier inspections are not being carried out."

It also claimed that no test certificates had been seen by inspectors, despite records being kept centrally by the tenant management organisation.

The new post goes on to detail 18 days of power surges, which took place from 11th to 29th May 2013, and 'posed a major fire risk to residents many of whom witnessed smoke coming from light fittings and other electrical appliances, some of which actually exploded'.

At the end of the post, the group added: "Nonetheless the opinion we expressed so strongly about the role of the cladding still holds good and we are confident it will remain a crucial part of the final account of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

"We had another objective in mind when writing this piece.

"All our warnings fell on deaf ears": Grenfell Tower had £9m refurbishment but no sprinklers
"It was to chronicle the history of complacency, negligence and incompetence that has defined the RBKC and KCTMO for as long as we can remember.

"We had enough evidence in our possession to begin making that case and we believe it was vitally important to begin the task of recording it in the hope that those tasked with investigating the causes of the Grenfell Tower inferno would be forced to explore and investigate this history and would be unable to ignore it."

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