People moved out of London towers

Katrina Barker
June 26, 2017

Officials at Camden Council in north London have evacuated hundreds of apartments in four tower blocks as a precaution after fire inspectors concluded that they were unsafe.

According to Sky News, council leader Georgia Gould said that after checking the buildings, external cladding on the blocks "was not up to the standard that we wanted and was not fire retardant" despite the insulation being safe.

While many people have been able to stay in their homes despite the fire risk, thousands of residents from 650 flats in north London were evacuated on Saturday.

We now know the outcome of the tests and have taken the decision, as a precautionary measure, to remove a very small amount of decorative panels from five high rise blocks in the St Peter's area of the city. Some refused to leave. Scores of evacuees slept on inflatable beds in a gym while officials sought better accommodations for them.

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

The evacuation comes as part of a nationwide safety operation launched after a fire ripped through Grenfell Tower in north Kensington on June 14, leaving at least 79 people dead.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said testing of potentially combustible cladding "is running around the clock". The apartments were evacuated overnight after fi.

Camden council said the need to "decant" residents came as a result of "a combination of cladding issues and other fire safety concerns that have emerged today including gas pipe insulation" and had to be done.

The charred remains of Grenfell Tower.

May said the local authority would be given all the means necessary to make sure people had somewhere to stay.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who was forced to apologise for the government's initial slow response to the tragedy, said the authorities were now racing to establish what needed to be done.

"It was only last night, about 10pm last night, I found out". Council workers guided dozens to a nearby gym, where they spent the night on inflatable mattresses. Others were being put up in hotels and other housing projects.

Many residents complained that they only found out about the evacuation through television and were not properly informed. We were told "There's nothing to worry about, you're not going to evacuate". They couldn't find a place for us.

She said the government would ensure councils take "immediate action" over the failed tests, adding: "Absolutely our first priority is people's safety".

Shocked residents were ordered to leave their homes for up to three weeks while "urgent fire safety works" were carried out.

Hundreds more blocks are still yet to be tested, with the Department for Communities and Local Government estimating that around 600 residential tower blocks nationally are fitted with cladding.

Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack was speaking after it emerged police had seized documents and materials from a "number of organisations". The fire rapidly spread through the outside of the building as panel after panel of the aluminum cladding covering the building caught flames. One hotel chain, Premier Inn, has calling in experts to check its buildings. To encourage cooperation with authorities, May said the government won't penalize any Grenfell fire survivors who were in the country illegally.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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