It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders. We believe that the KCTMO are an evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia who have no business to be charged with the responsibility of looking after the every day management of large scale social housing estates and that their sordid collusion with the RBKC Council is a recipe for a future major disaster.
Unfortunately, the Grenfell Action Group have reached the conclusion that only an incident that results in serious loss of life of KCTMO residents will allow the external scrutiny to occur that will shine a light on the practices that characterise the malign governance of this non-functioning organisation. We believe that the KCTMO have ensured their ongoing survival by the use of proxy votes at their Annual General Meeting that see them returned with a mandate of 98% in favour of the continuation of their inept and highly dangerous management of our homes.
It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block or similar high density residential property is the most likely reason that those who wield power at the KCTMO will be found out and brought to justice! The Grenfell Action Group believe that the KCTMO narrowly averted a major fire disaster at Grenfell Tower in 2013 when residents experienced a period of terrifying power surges that were subsequently found to have been caused by faulty wiring. We believe that our attempts to highlight the seriousness of this event were covered up by the KCTMO with the help of the RBKC Scrutiny Committee who refused to investigate the legitimate concerns of tenants and leaseholders.
We have blogged many times on the subject of fire safety at Grenfell Tower and we believe that these investigations will form a crucial part of a damning catalogue of evidence showing the poor safety record of the KCTMO should a fire affect any other of their properties and cause the loss of life that we are predicting:
In October 2015 a fire ripped through another KCTMO property, the 14 storey Adair Tower in North Kensington, causing mass panic and resulting in a number of residents taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. It is reported that had it not been for the swift actions of the London Fire Brigade the consequences of this fire and potential loss of life could have been much worse.
In the aftermath of the Adair Tower fire the London Fire Brigade found that the KCTMO had not been looking after the safety of residents properly and issued an Enforcement Order compelling them to improve the fire safety in the escape staircases and to provide self closing devices to all the tower block’s front doors. A further audit by the London Fire Brigade of the neighbouring Hazelwood Tower (located alongside Adair Tower) found similar breaches of health and safety legislation and an Enforcement Order was also issued for this property forcing the TMO to address the serious concerns of the Fire Brigade’s inspectors. What is shocking is that a decade ago a fatality occurred due to a fire at Hazelwood Tower and the Fire Investigation Team ordered that the grills on the fire escape staircase be covered over. This never happened and it is believed that the uncovered grills at Adair House (Hazelwood Tower’s twin block) acted like a chimney and were responsible for the accelerated spread of the fire and smoke damage.
In the last twenty years and despite the terrifying power surge incident in 2013 and recent fire at Adair Tower, the residents of Grenfell Tower have received no proper fire safety instructions from the KCTMO. Residents were informed by a temporary notice stuck in the lift and one announcement in a recent regeneration newsletter that they should remain in their flats in the event of fire. There are not and never have been any instructions posted in the Grenfell Tower noticeboard or on individual floors as to how residents should act in event of a fire. Anyone who witnessed the recent tower block fire at Shepherds Court, in nearby Shepherd’s Bush, will know that the advice to remain in our properties would have led to certain fatalities and we are calling on our landlord to re-consider the advice that they have so badly circulated.
The Grenfell Action Group predict that it won’t be long before the words of this blog come back to haunt the KCTMO management and we will do everything in our power to ensure that those in authority know how long and how appallingly our landlord has ignored their responsibility to ensure the heath and safety of their tenants and leaseholders. They can’t say that they haven’t been warned!