All tower block cladding checked so far fails fire test

London council evacuates residents amid fire safety concerns

Along with multiple other fire safety failures, the alert caused Camden Council to order residents out of four tower blocks on Friday night - although around 20 households are still refusing to leave the Chalcots Estate.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said it made a decision to evacuate four blocks in north London's Chalcots Estate late Friday after fire inspectors uncovered problems with "gas insulation and door stops", which, combined with the presence of flammable cladding encasing the buildings, meant residents had to leave immediately.

Earlier over the weekend, cladding that had been used on 34 tower blocks in 17 council areas in England was reported to have failed government fire safety tests.

The Grenfell Tower fire in north Kensington on 14 June started in a fridge-freezer, and outside cladding and insulation failed safety tests, police say.

Evacuated residents faced chaos, with temporary accommodation offered in a local leisure centre and hotels, but some refused to move.

"We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards", Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters. 11 buildings have already been confirmed by the Government to have combustible cladding including five buildings on the Chalcots Estate in north London.

There are unsafe blocks also in seven London boroughs - Barnet, Brent, Camden, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth and Wandsworth.

The same government department which is now spearheading the safety checks ran a consultation between February and May, requesting feedback on its "white paper" policy document on overhauling the housing sector.

"The priority is to make sure that the people in those blocks have somewhere that they can directly go to and making sure that they are safe".

Two other buildings in the borough are also said to have ACM cladding, Newham Council said.

It is suspected this was behind the fire spreading so rapidly and killing at least 79 people.

In a statement, Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who appeared at Glastonbury Festival yesterday, said: "This is now a nationwide threat and the Prime Minister needs to get a grip and lead a national response, including convening the Cobra committee to coordinate Government and public action".

"One man in a suit said to me "you can't stay here tonight".

It comes as Theresa May is due to chair a meeting of the Grenfell Tower Recovery Taskforce today.

They were found to have similar cladding to that used on the Grenfell Tower, which contains material that can easily catch fire.

The fire has become a flashpoint for public anger at the record of May's Conservative Party in government following cuts to local authority budgets created to lower the national deficit.

"As a precautionary measure to ensure the continued safety of our tenants, One Vision Housing have taken the decision to remove the cladding from the two blocks with immediate effect, to allow for further investigations", it added.

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