Residents of Grenfell Tower claimed that they have long warned their landlord of a possible “catastrophic event” because of the tower block’s “dangerous living conditions.”
Since 2013, the Grenfell Action Group, consisting of residents, has been calling out the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization (KCTMO) for its sketchy safety policies.
In November 2016, the group released a blog post predicting that it’s “just a matter of time” before a catastrophe would happen because all of their warnings “fell on deaf ears.”
The concerned residents similarly pointed out the debris found in the hallways. They worried that should a fire break out, residents would find it difficult to get out because of the unnecessary blockages in the walkways.
“It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.”
They believe that in 2013, a major fire disaster nearly took place because of the building’s faulty wiring. The fire, which started in the early hours of Wednesday, engulfed almost all of Grenfell’s floors. There were about 200 firefighters who immediately went to the scene.
London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton told CNN that in his 29 years of experience as a firefighter, it was his first time to see “anything of this scale.”
Some of the residents were allegedly instructed to wait inside their flats, but many opted to escape on their own. Onlookers recall seeing residents leap out of their windows fearing that they would die of suffocation. Eyewitness Tamara Eastmond told CNN that they saw a man burn to death after the flames entered his unit.
Authorities have confirmed that six people died from the blaze, and that the number could still rise as they continue their search and rescue operations. More than sixty people, on the other hand, were taken to different hospitals in London to receive medical care. Mayor Sadiq Khan is hopeful that the still unaccounted for residents have found safe refuge.
#GrenfellTower: 64 people taken to 6 hospitals, with 20 in critical care, London Ambulance Service says
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 14, 2017
Grenfell Tower was constructed in 1974. Property firm Rydon reports that the North Kensington housing recently underwent a $10.9 million redevelopment. As part of the renovation project, cladding was added to the building’s exterior, but residents blamed it as the reason for the rapid spread of the fire.
About 125 families reportedly live in the tower which also houses a boxing gym and a nursery.
[Featured Image by Matt Dunham/AP Images]