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London homes evacuated in wake of Grenfell Tower fire

24 Juin 2017

Work had been due to begin on stripping cladding from buildings on the Chalcots Estate, but Camden Council ordered the "decant" of residents on Friday evening following further checks by the London Fire Brigade.

The London borough of Camden said it was providing hotel rooms for residents of 800 apartments in high-rise buildings in the area known as Swiss Cottage, after fire authorities said they would be unsafe in case of fire.

Scotland Yard said on Friday that manslaughter charges are being considered by detectives investigating the blaze in the tower, which had failed fire safety tests.

"But she added: "I think it's the right thing to do if it's health and safety". Officials also confirmed that the blaze began with a faulty refrigerator and was not started intentionally.

Hotpoint said Friday that "words can not express our sorrow at this bad tragedy" and added it was working with authorities to examine the appliance.

There has been widespread attention on the building's exterior cladding. Combustible cladding used to insulate that tower and improve its appearance has been blamed for the rapid spread of the blaze.

Hundreds are being kicked out of their London accommodation with next to no notice, Council saying they can't guarantee their safety after the Grenfell tower inferno.

Samples from 14 buildings in London, Manchester and Plymouth have already been found to be combustible.

London Fire Brigade said in statement, as to why the evacuations took place: "London Fire Brigade have been working at the Chalcots Estate with Camden Council".

Georgia Gould, leader of Camden Council, said: "We are absolutely determined to ensure that our residents are safe and we have promised them that we will work with them, continue to act swiftly and be open and transparent".

An estimated 4,000 residents of the five high-rises were being relocated while the problems are addressed, said the council.

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We're encouraging all residents to stay with friends and family if they can, otherwise we'll provide accommodation.

According to the Camden Council, it could be three or four weeks before the evacuated residents can return home.

Of the decision to evacuate, which was also made over concerns over "gas pipe insulation" Gould said: "At the end of today, they (the fire service) told us they could not guarantee our residents' safety in those blocks and so I have made the really, really hard decision to move the people living there into temporary accommodation while we do the urgent works to guarantee safety". He said: "It was a rush, I didn't know anything. I know it's hard but Grenfell changes everything and I just don't think we can take any risks with our residents' safety and I have to put them first".

Earlier 94-year-old Peter Bertram, a former RAF aircraft hand and a resident of the estate for 46 years, said he was "shocked" by the ordeal.

"This feels like a sick joke", said Fuller, who was reached by phone.

We know it's a scary time but we'll make sure they're safe.

George - like many other residents - did not want to speak to the media.

McCormack said all "complete bodies" had been removed from the burnt-out tower and there was "a awful reality that we may not find or identify everyone who died due to the intense heat".

Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted: "My thoughts are with residents being evacuated in Camden while their homes are made safe tonight". She added that the fire was so intense officials may never be able to identify everyone who died.

Police have reviewed more than 600 calls made to Britain's universal emergency number on the night of the fire to try to piece together events.

Information for this article was contributed by Karla Adam of The Washington Post; by Danica Kirka and Alastair J. Grant of The Associated Press; and by Ceylan Yeginsu, Iliana Magra and Michael Wolgelenter of The New York Times.

London homes evacuated in wake of Grenfell Tower fire