Sunday 18 August 2019

Grenfell campaigners project warnings on ‘unsafe’ tower blocks two years on

Projections in London, Manchester and Newcastle warned of continuing fire safety problems in high-rise buildings.

By Stephen Jones, Press Association

Survivors and bereaved families of the Grenfell Tower fire have projected messages on to “unsafe” tower blocks across the United Kingdom two years on from the blaze.

Friday marks the second anniversary of the blaze, which left 72 people dead.

Survivors and bereaved families organised the projections on high-rise blocks in London, Newcastle and Manchester.

A projection on west London’s Frinstead House, a 20-storey block which lies on the same estate as Grenfell, claimed: “2 years after Grenfell this building still has no sprinklers #demandchange.

On Newcastle’s Cruddas Park House, a 25-storey block designated to over-50s, a message read: “2 years after Grenfell and the fire doors in this building still don’t work.”

And in Manchester, a projection on the 246-flat NV Building warned that “dangerous cladding” still wrapped the outside of the structure.

Campaigners Manchester Cladiators helped with the protest, and represent twelve blocks in the city which they claim have fire safety issues.

Natasha Elcock, who survived the Grenfell blaze and co-chairs campaign group Grenfell United, said: “We needed to send a strong message. It’s been two years since Grenfell and people are still going to bed at night worried that a fire like Grenfell could happen to them.

“After the fire we were promised that blocks would be made safe. Two years later we cannot wait any longer, we need action now so everyone is safe in their homes.”

This weekend, residents at a residential block in Barking complained after it was engulfed in flames within a matter of minutes, destroying 20 flats and damaging 10 more.

It was claimed that the residents’ association had first raised safety concerns about cladding on the building in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy.

Venilia Amorim, treasurer of the Barking Reach Residents’ Association. told the Press Association the building was covered in a wooden cladding that residents had been told was safe.

“We have got a lot of residents now not wanting to go back to their homes, not even to the adjacent blocks, because there’s no guarantee that this won’t happen again,” she said.

Bellway, which built the flats, said it was “a very serious issue” and was investigating the matter.

Grenfell United has urged whoever takes over as Prime Minister from Theresa May must prioritise fire safety to be “on the right side of history”.

Karim Mussilhy, whose uncle Hesham Rahman died in the fire, said: “You have an opportunity to make changes that will echo throughout generations, to know that 72 people lost their lives in the most horrific way possible, but because of the work you did with Grenfell United, it now meant that people are safe in their homes and are treated with respect, and something like this will never happen again.”

PA Media

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