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Topic Title: West London Fire
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Created On: 14 June 2017 10:32 AM
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 14 June 2017 10:20 PM
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kellyselectric

Posts: 164
Joined: 22 July 2016

A truly awful event reduced me to tears such a terrible way to die.why don't these bloody councils do there jobs and look after people's safety
 14 June 2017 10:27 PM
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Parsley

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Joined: 04 November 2004

LGA document

This LGA document is worth a read. See page 27 for stay put policy and 28 for fire detection/alarms in individual flats and common areas.
Page 85 refers to gas pipe work in protected stairways

If the link doesn't work search for Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats, Local Government Association.

Very sad indeed, lets hope the politicians leave the investigation to the professionals and the media get their facts right in relation to statutory requirements versus best practice.

Regards

Edited: 16 June 2017 at 09:23 AM by IET Moderator
 14 June 2017 10:41 PM
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davezawadi

Posts: 3848
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It is very sad that this has happened. However I don't think that the discussion is helping much. There is still fire inside the building at 10pm which is unprecedented. Just what was all this inflammable material which has continued to burn for 18 hours? There appeared to me to be vision right through floors, so there were no solid walls of fire resistant material (eg. concrete blocks) and so I cannot see any fire design. But we shall see, probably in a few years time, which is far from satisfactory. BTW I don't understand the "stay put" policy with only a single escape route, data from BBC, as any problem leaves those remaining with no hope within an hour or even two and one cannot visit 120 flats that quickly for rescue even with a huge emergency crew.

-------------------------
David
BSc CEng MIET
david@ZawadiSoundAndLighting.co.uk
 14 June 2017 11:51 PM
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sparkingchip

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 14 June 2017 11:59 PM
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rocknroll

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Compartmentalization and defend in place (stay put) was a system
devised by young dashing engineers in the early 70's
and included in the building reguations at the time,
comparmentalization and the way that high rise buildings are
structured has been a successful method and saved many millions
in repair costs over the years unlike the twin towers which collapsed
in hours, from what snippets I have seen the building is still standing
and structurally sound, likewise defend in place has saved many
thousands of lives over the years, I suspect like many high rise
buildings in London and surrounding areas they are owned and/or
managed by the private sector so that is where the hammer is likely
to fall.

Fire is in itself an unpredictable animal and it may be some months
before the pieces of the jigsaw can be slotted together, as
grasshopper pointed out it could be something as simple as the
hundreds of holes you lot leave in walls everyday that contributed to
the compartment structure being compromised.


News is news.
Facts is facts.

Regards

-------------------------
"Take nothing but a picture,
leave nothing but footprints!"
-------------------------
"Oh! The drama of it all."
-------------------------
"You can throw all the philosophy you like at the problem, but at the end of the day it's just basic electrical theory!"
-------------------------
 15 June 2017 07:32 AM
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leckie

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Crikey, trust our LABC employee to defend the councils and blame the electricians.

Have a read through some if the papers, the warning that have been previously issued, the fact that even if there are defects in installation methods the building has been recently refurbished, inspected and passed as fit for use.

The fact that a system works providing everything is designed, installed, maintained and inspected to high standards does not help when masses of people have been killed. So the management company put in place by the LABC may not have been up to the job of ensuring the refurbishment has been properly carried out and managed. They of course have a vested interest.

The blame game is underway, with the council, etc., wanting to deflect all responsibility.

Oh I know, let's blame the electricians for drilling a hole
 15 June 2017 08:47 AM
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Zoomup

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Joined: 20 February 2014

A report on a previous U.K. fatal tower block fire with apparently no lessons learnt. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...-similar-tragedy.html

Z.
 15 June 2017 08:52 AM
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Cremeegg

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Leckie

As ever there is much truth in what RnR says but he can never resist winding mere electricians up; look at old posts on Part P.

Although probably not the main issue in this case I'm amazed that we don't have more issues given the abuse that most riser cupboards are given when pressed into use as cleaners cupboards etc etc as Zs has stated so eloquently.
 15 June 2017 09:03 AM
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Zoomup

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"Fire is a constant hazard in buildings like these. For a start, the tenants are often poor and cannot afford to get their electrical appliances regularly overhauled. Initial reports suggest yesterday's fire started with a faulty fridge.
And it is increasingly common for there to be fire risks even with new appliances. In more than one instance recently, tumble-driers have been recalled because of inbuilt faults.
People need to be armed with much better information and encouraged to carry out checks for themselves. There need to be fire safety drills, as there are in offices, and more information about fire safety given out."


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new...edy.html#ixzz4k3XN7XmY
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
 15 June 2017 09:38 AM
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arg

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Originally posted by: davezawadi
BTW I don't understand the "stay put" policy with only a single escape route, data from BBC, as any problem leaves those remaining with no hope within an hour or even two and one cannot visit 120 flats that quickly for rescue even with a huge emergency crew.


Surely the idea is that the emergency crew don't "rescue" 120 flats, but rather they get in and put the fire out before it spreads and the other floors can exit easily after the event is over, rather than rushing down into the fire zone and putting themselves at risk as well as impeding the firefighting.

All of which assumes of course that the fire doesn't spread rapidly through the building - but if that does happen you are probably in trouble either way.
 15 June 2017 09:40 AM
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mapj1

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Saying tenants should have their appliances tested strikes me as missing the point. If my fridge or my antique lathe motor collection catches fire, I expect to be toasted, but next door to be fine. The house is built that way. And in any case what would you be checking for by inspecting fridges in 120 flats exactly - look at our PAT arguments - unless the PA tester is personally liable for the damage caused by the fire and his/ her insurance pays for it all, it is of no help at all.
And the figures tell us that by a large margin, most home fires are cooking errors not electrical faults, and at that time of night, probably of the kind where after a pint or three with the mates, an early morning fry up seems like an excellent idea to stop the floor wobbling quite so much, and it goes a bit off track when the the pan is left on to go for a pee. Sign here if you've not done that. In that sense kebab vans save lives.we shall see I guess.
The cause is not the biggest tragedy here, something went badly wrong with the containment principle, and that is what should be looked at, very hard.

There are some 'before the fire ' pictures of the refurbishment
Wayback machine

enter http://www.rydon.co.uk/projects/case-studies/refurbishment-case-studies/grenfell-tower in the search box for an archived
view of the website of the company that did the refurbishment works
and
http://www.harleyfacades.co.uk/page/grenfell-tower-626
F or the folk who did the aluminium rainscreen

(I have linked via WayBack, as I fully expect the original page to be removed or heavily edited soon.)

The rain screen cladding has a polymer core apparently. It would be interesting to know which polymer.


edit,
now we do
Well, it seems to be polyethylene cored Reynobond from Arconic in the USA - and in-terms of calorifc value per kilo, the energy released in a fire would be of the same order of magnitude as if the building had been dipped and coated in layer of candle wax!!
Which in hindsight must be looking like a false economy.
Apparently they fitted this stuff
Add to that open windows and vents and flammable curtains and possibly PVC window cills etc, and it is easy to see how quickly it all went wrong.

At the very least, a change to building regs B is needed.

-------------------------
regards Mike


Edited: 16 June 2017 at 09:17 AM by mapj1
 15 June 2017 10:29 AM
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rslane

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Joined: 18 January 2003

I made reference to "hallway windows". I was wrong. I see from the floor layout shown on page 5 of today's Guardian that the central stair well and lift shafts have no windows. Each of the 20 residential floors has four two bedroom flats and two one bedroom flats which form a ring completely surrounding the service and access core.
So how did so much reported smoke enter the stairwell? Did the source fire break through from the flat into the hall way? But then the smoke should then have been held back by the stair well fire door. Was smoke (and maybe fire too) reaching other floors via service ducts and lift shafts?
No doubt the forensic analysis will answer these questions. However, with report in this morning's 10am news (Thursday's) that there were still areas on fire, it will be a long time before the building will be cool enough for detailed work.
 15 June 2017 11:26 AM
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davezawadi

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Arg, I think you are missing the point, which is that the LFB did not extinguish this fire anything like quickly enough, which we might assume to be 2 hours maximum. At that point containment is likely to be breached and the fire go forwards at any rate. Upon arrival I would expect men inside with hose reels to floor 4 very quickly, when the fire was still small. A few minutes later there should be a couple of large hoses operating too. This is the whole point of dry risers, and other installed precautions.

If the fire was still spreading after perhaps half an hour I would assume that the containment policy had failed, and all efforts should switch to rescue and evacuation. Someone said today that evacuation should not be attempted because someone could be hurt, well the lack of evacuation could well cost a great many lives in this fire. The decision needs to be taken quickly and decisively, with the balance between risks assumed by a proper leader. Clearly this did not happen.

I was very disappointed to hear the LFB commissioner this morning, she claims the building is structurally unsafe so work was stopped.

-------------------------
David
BSc CEng MIET
david@ZawadiSoundAndLighting.co.uk
 15 June 2017 11:38 AM
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sparkingchip

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 15 June 2017 11:47 AM
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sparkingchip

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Originally posted by: davezawadi

Arg, I think you are missing the point, which is that the LFB did not extinguish this fire anything like quickly enough, which we might assume to be 2 hours maximum. At that point containment is likely to be breached and the fire go forwards at any rate. Upon arrival I would expect men inside with hose reels to floor 4 very quickly, when the fire was still small. A few minutes later there should be a couple of large hoses operating too. This is the whole point of dry risers, and other installed precautions.



If the fire was still spreading after perhaps half an hour I would assume that the containment policy had failed, and all efforts should switch to rescue and evacuation. Someone said today that evacuation should not be attempted because someone could be hurt, well the lack of evacuation could well cost a great many lives in this fire. The decision needs to be taken quickly and decisively, with the balance between risks assumed by a proper leader. Clearly this did not happen.



I was very disappointed to hear the LFB commissioner this morning, she claims the building is structurally unsafe so work was stopped.




Shirley Towers fire report
 15 June 2017 02:27 PM
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leckie

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I haven't heard any suggestion that the LFB were at fault for a delay in extinguishing the fire. I think the point is that the compartmenting of the fire did not work; if it had the LBF would have had a localised fire to deal with and would have been able to deal with it. Witnesses have said the fire spread in minutes so the LFB had a spreading fire to deal with on arrival.

So the problem is that the defend and hold system depends on the fire compartments working properly and they did no, the question to be answered is why. At the moment it is being suggested that the outer cladding set alight and spread fire quickly up the outside of the building - would this then get inside the building? I expect if the whole side of a building is on fire it would soon breach the windows, etc.

I read somewhere that cladding was Celotex RS5000 which is Class 0 rated, i.e. it is not non-combustible and will combust if there is sufficient heat. Well in this case there was and it did.

One thing is for sure - the defend and hold policy is going to take some criticism for one simple reason. After this event, if you were on the 20th floor of an apartment and a fire broke out would you stay put or try to get down the stairs? In a real life situation, any able bodied person will attempt to flee not stay because they will no longer trust the protection method.

So its OK some defending the protection method but it didn't work in this case, and anyone living in a similar building will no longer believe it will work in their building.
 15 June 2017 02:30 PM
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OMS

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I'm minded to say that if no refurb had taken place then all we would be talking about is a burnt out flat and a bit of excitement for residents to chatter about.

To the best of my knowledge, the particular ali clad panel used can contain mineral fibre, retarded polyethylene or just plain polyethylene

The designers select what's required for the application - cost pressure may have led them in the wrong direction

Add to that what was pretty obviously a lack of cavity barriers and the relevant submittal to BCO would be worth a good look

Typically, you get bugger all spread of flame over the surface of a manky 1960's tower block - and you get very little spread of smoke and flame if the original compartment lines are maintained

However after years of tradesmen bashing their way through asbestos panels etc to put in the latest access control or intercom system they are usually like a swiss cheese - add a combustible façade to that and I have to wonder if there was a whiff of sulphur and purple smoke whilst a man with a cape whispered in the designers ear "it'll be fine - wrap the building in polyethylene - what could possibly go wrong"

From what I've seen of the FRS response, it was by the book - what should have been a simple fire in a flat was already out of control on arrival (and that was within 6 minutes of the call)

Clearly, there are currently huge misunderstandings of what "Defend in Place" and "Stay Put" strategies really mean - a bit of light reading might be in order

I'd have to say, having read the vitriol on several sites and a few social media platforms, if this might have started deliberately to make a point - it then getting way out of control (and perhaps proving a point)

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 15 June 2017 02:55 PM
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leckie

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Well the fire service did tell residents that contacted them to stay put, by which time the fire was already out of control.

Anyone trying to escape from the upper floor would have stood a high chance of perishing whatever action they took, but as I have said - next time nobody will listen - they will try and leg it, thus defeating fire strategy in any case.
 15 June 2017 02:58 PM
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sparkingchip

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Joined: 18 January 2003

There are times wince when I see things done as improvements.

Some local three storey flats have plastic soil vent pipes running vertically breaching the fire containment of the concrete beam floors, so when the flats were built in the 1970's the pipes were enclosed in asbestos board boxings. Over the years these had been painted and partially tiled, so were a minimal health risk.

However, at great expense, these asbestos boxings were stripped out by men in white suits with all the gear and replaced with MDF as part of refurbishment work. Meanwhile the ceiling textured finish containing asbestos has been left in place as it is deemed to be okay as it is covered in a similar amount of paint to that which was on the boxings.

So the fire protection boards have been replaced with standard MDF, you know it makes sense!

Andy B.
 15 June 2017 03:55 PM
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OMS

Posts: 22359
Joined: 23 March 2004

Intumescent fire collar on the PVC Soil and Vent would be a good idea I would think

You can box it in with whatever you like then

Although I tend to agree with your point - it's important not to scrap the original design intent when undertaking "improvements"

On a brighter note apparently Adele rocked up to do a bit of virtue signalling - everyone must be feeling a lot better now

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
IET » Wiring and the regulations » West London Fire

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