'Unanswered questions' over tower block blaze

Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey residential tower block in north Kensington was subject to a horrific fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning.  At least 17 people are confirmed dead, with 34 in hospital of which 18 are in a critical condition. Many others remain unaccounted for.

The 1970s tower block was constructed with a single means of escape which was not uncommon at that time.  However, it had recently undergone substantial refurbishment which provided the opportunity to review the safety aspects of the building in line with current regulations and good practice.  It is too early to speculate whether a failure of systems or management of them, or indeed some other factors enabled the fire to spread as it did.  Until the public inquiry has concluded, these questions will remain unanswered.

Speaking of the disaster, CIAT President Gary Mees said:

'Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the victims of this dreadful incident and their friends and families. It is imperative that people are as safe as they can be in their own homes. This should be a reminder to all that regulations and safety measures must be in place to prevent such catastrophies and should be given the highest priority when reviewing existing structures.'

Image courtesy of Natalie Oxford.