London’s Burning (by )

London is reeling - everyone knows someone who lives in a Tower Block - London has a lot of Tower Blocks full of families - the fire by Latimer Road has shook the foundations of the city - and as the situation unfolds it looks more and more like we may not be able to tell how many have died, the fire spread in a way that was unexpected due to the cladding causing issues with people following the advice and how fire services initially reacted and advised people.

Fire fighters risked their lives and are still currently working - many of them have been injured but they kept going to get as many out as they could - they went in knowing they themselves could die - it was a write your name on your helmet just incase situation.

This is the sign I saw on my way home from London yesterday and my facebook post on return.

Tower Hill Tube station message after the Tower Block Fire

My heart hurts from the news - I had to walk part of my journey yesterday and that is a small price - I would have walked the whole thing to undo this tragedy- Alaric Blagrave Snell-Pym contacted me to warn me - I panicked when he initially said a Tower Block in London but it wasn't the area that sprang to my mind - that doesn't alter the horror just the likelihood of me knowing the people living there and highlights a huge issue - there are many tower blocks and flat complexes and even the "luxury" ones give me the chills when I hear from people living in them that they've turned out to be structurally unsound and are being re-built around them and so on. Many are old and do not follow the modern regs. The fire fighters fought and rescued and did amazing things - and I know their work is still on going to find what exactly happened - they sustained injuries, they are heros. I cried when Al told me and then later on when I saw the news before I went to the memorial reception I was heading too. I saw this sign on the way back home today from East London, at least I couldn't smell it on the way home - I did on the way in yesterday and that sickens me :'( It's a nightmare, a pure nightmare.


My mum was struggling with the news - this is an old nightmare of hers due to the flats that were opposite her as a child and the fear of collapse from fires etc... Mum and Dad were both surprised that there was gas on in the flats due to a blow out when they were younger, that had collapsed a block of flats - there is sadness and anger.

When I got into London on Wednesday there were harrowed faces and people dashing for the newspapers as soon as they hit the stands - those who were talking had the event on their lips. London is a sprawling hive of people, mainly in the last century it has sprawled upwards.

There are regulations - each flat is supposed to be a sealed fire safe unit, they are designed and often retrofitted to contain fire - that is not what happened here. Grenfell went up like a candle with the fire spreading around the building, violently, unpredictably and rapid. People jumped and threw kids out of windows from the 15th storey and so on.

Many things appear to have gone wrong. I can not get it out of my brain and it hurts. I was visiting South Ken the Fire was North Ken. a) there was no sprinkler system and they had just redone the plumbing - apparently not adding it was not about money b) the alarms were all in the corridors outside the flats and were not loud enough to wake people c) the advice was to stay still which if it had been a normal fire would have worked sadly it didn't and that has cost lives and will continue to do so as now no one is ever going to stay still whilst the fires burn themselves out d) the cladding...

Now obviously lots of investigations have to be done but from the information that's come out so far this is what I think happened - the plastic was not fire retardant, it caught fire and was wrapped around the building - worse it had huge air gaps behind it causing a flu effect that sucked the air through making the fire burn more viciously and helped it spread upwards. The company that make/instal? the cladding are saying they followed regs in which case those regs need to be looked at. But more than that - where were the engineers? Did no one stop and thing what could the down sides of this be? What might happen if a) b) c) were to happen? One report was suggesting the cladding had been involved in other fires in India if that is the case then they must have known it was a potentially fatal issue?

The cladding also fell down meaning that police and fire fighters had to clear the local area and evacuate near by buildings. The gutted block is however still structurally sound enough for the fire fighters to be wondering around looking for bodies.

The emergency services were all maxed out and then some and they still saved lives, they still risked their own.

Nearly 9 million pounds was spent on tarting that building up - mainly spent on the cladding - to make it look nice so the expensive flats didn't have to look at the ugly mostly social housing. Yeah... so if the cladding was the problem those families, that community have been decimated because they didn't fit with gentrified London. They were the working class that had to be covered up and hidden - the asthetics of the building to the outside gaze was more important than the internal functionality and safety of its residents.

I am so ********* angry right now.

There are kids/whole families missing, out of those confirmed dead there are refugees who had already fled horror only to die like this, the young, the old... people - The People - just a standard mix of Londoners - wiped out.

And I mentioned the community, those who got out watched their homes and neighbours go up in flames - that is not going to be easily if ever forgotten - pretty sure the emergency services people will struggle too. Ontop of that what happens now? There are displaced families - some had bought their flats so now we wait to see if the insurance companies are going to be evil or not and the others? There aren't any new council houses being built - social housing has been being whittled away so where are they going to go?

London/Britain is having a bit of a time at the moment - and that is when heros emerge as the Underground sign says and not just the emergency services - various religous and social communities have stepped forward to help shelter and provide - even back here in Gloucestershire people are trying to work out how to help.

As I left South Ken and made my way through central and East London to my parents home I passed many many blocks of flats and the fear curdled my stomach - and the next morning too on my way back to Paddington Station - seeing them in day light with washing and bikes and sundries showing just how full of life those blocks are. All I can hope is that things will be done to make sure this is the only time this was allowed to happen. But that's what my parents thought about the gas blow out...

Yes I think this was preventable and that the chase for pretty penny has cost families their lives and their homes and worse of all I think those who should answer for it wont.

All I can do is offer love to those who are affected but that wont bring the dead back to life :,(

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