How the Poor Die

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I've been saying for some time now that Theresa May and her government's polices are a far greater threat to people than terrorists, Grenfell Tower is the latest, most spectacular, and probably the most tragic instance of this so far. We probably won't know what the actual death toll is for some time - before the incident is spun and managed, here are some very pertinent points from Darren McGarvey, AKA Loki, on the matter.

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Jo Nugent

Absolutely terrifying what chance do you have in these shoeboxs in the sky .six folk live in my building it's high but not like a tower you could have a chance of getting out . the answer get rid of the towers and give folk proper decent housing that's safe.

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Jeremy Watson

It appears that the "upgrading" was a significant part of the problem. Instead of prioritising safety the owners went for thermal insulation and looks and then did that in a stupid way. Even after the "upgrade" there were no fire alarms with direct links to emergency services (quite different to those we buy and install ourselves in private homes) and no sprinklers or dry risers. Dry risers are pipes serving sprinklers and get their water under suitable pressure on demand by the fire services. Even if extra stairs or an evacuation lift (regular lifts may not work in such circumstances), these two features should have taken precedence over comfort warmth and looks - a long time ago! The tower was a concrete frame which would normally contain the fire quite effectively for some time. Concrete is inert, but will spall under extreme conditions which is why the building is still standing, but now unstable. Fire rated materials have a time rating for combustion and fire spread, in essence giving time for escape and for fire fighters to get it under control. In such a building it should have been up to two hours and contained to the source and immediate area. This is the very sad part. The new cladding surface was not combustible, but the core insulation material was - highly. The metal transmitted the intense heat and thereby the fire. Fire as anyone knows, rises - fast. The installers already knew that and inserted intumescent bands between floors (material that expands and inhibits combustion). But they "forgot" about the heat transmission of the surface material. Look for styrofoam insulation on buildings in Glasgow. There is some, although I have only seen it on four storey blocks with over render. That is quite a different scenario, but it does make one wonder.

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Erik Sandberg

Great comments @jeremywatson - thanks.

Brian Beadie

@jeremywatson Thanks for your informed appraisal of the situation. I understand from interviews with tenants that they felt the refurb was primarily motivated by aesthetic reasons - ie to make the building look less of an 'eyesore', in other words less like public housing in a gentrified area.

Belinda Joan

Seems to me the rich & poor die in much the same way....