Excl: residents claim water connection “failed” during today’s fire at Grenfell neighbour tower

Read full article on skwawkbox.org/2018/07/03/excl-residents-claim-water-connection-failed-during-todays-fire-at-grenfell-neighbour-tower/

Today, as the public inquiry continued into the Grenfell Tower disaster that claimed so many lives just over a year ago, a fire broke out on the 16th floor of the neighbouring Whitstable House residential block, just a hundred metres or so from Grenfell.

The fire was covered by much of the national media – but this evening residents of the tower have alleged that the ‘dry riser’ water system that is supposed to feed firefighters’ hoses failed to work. They also allege other fire risks in the building have not been corrected.

whitstable dry riser wmark
Picture of a ‘failed’ dry riser access point provided by a Whitstable House resident after the blaze

According to residents, firefighters were forced to use an external water source in order to fight the blaze.

Whitstable House (image: Google Maps). A pre-fire Grenfell Tower can be seen rear left.
One Whitstable House resident told this blog:

You’d think more than a year after what happened at Grenfell the council would have everything in order in the neighbouring blocks to fight a fire. It’s an absolute disgrace. It’s not the firefighters’ fault, how could they know they weren’t going to work? It’s the council.

We’ve even still got defective fire doors that haven’t been replaced after all this time – yet the council referred to them in a letter they delivered to all the flats after the fire. The letter says our safety is important to them, but it doesn’t look that way if the emergency water system doesn’t work, does it?

The council just put up our service charge by over 80%. For what?  The lifts were broken all weekend and there are issues with the windows – RBKC [Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea council] really don’t give a s**t about any of us.

The Fire Brigade did well to get the fire under control as quickly as they did but we’re very lucky nobody got hurt.

The council’s letter to residents can be seen below. Note that the council continues to tell residents that only those occupying a flat where a fire starts need evacuate.

rbkc letter1 wm.png

rbkc letter2 wm

The SKWAWKBOX contacted RBKC, which confirmed that it now manages the blocks on the estate after the ‘Tenants Management Organisation’ was removed following the fire. A spokesperson for the council denied that the dry risers had failed:

The dry riser in the building functioned, this was confirmed with us by London Fire Brigade. Regarding repairs, since the Council took back management of our housing in March this year, the backlog of outstanding repairs has been reduced from 5000 to 1000. We take all reports of repairs being needed very seriously

Read full article on Skwawkbox website

One thought on “Excl: residents claim water connection “failed” during today’s fire at Grenfell neighbour tower

  1. This is too terrible for words. Why did the council not check the water supply system, just a stone’s throw from Grenfell? What is it going to take to get this, and other councils to begin to respect ordinary people’s lives and livelihoods? I feel like screaming out my rage!


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