World

Were fire barriers installed in London tower?

LONDON: Planning documents detailing the refurbishment of a residential tower block in West London where at least 17 people died in a fire on Wednesday did not refer to a type of fire barrier which building safety experts said should be used when high rise blocks are being re-clad.

The local authority which owns Grenfell Tower in Kensington declined to confirm whether fire barriers were installed on most floors between the insulation panels attached to the exterior of the building as part of the renovation.

SHOCKED

Rydon Group, the construction company which undertook the work, also declined to say whether they had been used, but said the revamp "met all required building control, fire regulation, and health and safety standards".

"We are shocked to hear of the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower and our immediate thoughts are with those that have been affected by the incident," a Rydon spokesman said in an e-mailed statement.

The government department in charge of regulating building work - the Department for Communities and Local Government - did not respond to Reuters' questions, including whether such fire barriers were required by law.

Meanwhile, many people are still missing and firefighters face hazardous conditions as they searched the charred building.

Smoke was still wafting out of the shell of Grenfell Tower yesterday morning and a Reuters cameraman saw a big piece of cladding falling from the building, 32 hours after fire engulfed the building. - REUTERS

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