With Evan Davis. What caused the fire that killed so many people in London on Tuesday night?
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The whole right side of the building was on fire,
the whole thing was engulfed in flames and you could
hear people screaming, "help me, help me, help me".
One of the firemen said get back up to your flat and his wife said no
It went up way quicker than it should do.
There are mothers that have come out and lost their children.
That cladding seemed to burn like paper.
You could see the fire going into the house and the last
There was a man who threw two of his children.
The block of flats had just been covered in cladding and it
Why did the escape routes get so quickly fire clogged?
Every floor, it was like, bang, bang.
I could see people screaming up at their window, banging,
"get us out, get us out" and the next thing
Any work that was done during the refurbishment
was completed and signed off and that is our position
and that is what we'll be able to show as we go
The poorest housing in one of the richest
It's been a day of utter horror and disbelief at the fire in west
London early this morning known to have killed, at the very least,
The individual stories that have been told today of death
I suspect most of us had complacently thought we'd overcome
the problem of huge scale fires of this kind through building
codes and regulations, alarms and fire drills.
We'll discuss some specific lessons later, but Newsnight has found
that the cladding used in the renovation of the building
was of a type that is less fire retardant than some others and has
been associated with fires elsewhere.
But the fact is that this fire occurred in a building occupied
Is this a case where the well-to-do in positions of power didn't care
enough about the lives of the less well-off because they don't
The potential that it is wilful carelessness of those in power plays
into the divisions and debates that this country has been having.
There is a lot to discuss but we'll start at the scene.
And Emily is there, and in fact has been all day.
20 hours later, the fire is still burning in the building behind me,
you can perhaps see the 21st at 24th floor is still ablaze, a big enough
orange in the night sky but, yes, this is my borough, where I live and
for many of us, the first instinct was to try to muck in, we have been
sorting through donations that have been coming to the various churches.
The Westway Sports Centre, where local kids play football. And that
includes the Beggan children and the camera and children, that has become
the community hub, the Rugby Portobello trust has played a
pivotal role in rehousing all of the residents into local hotels for the
night and they have had more than 200 people coming through their door
today and they have rehoused all except for around 40 and they are
missing relatives and they wanted to stay closer to home. There is a
large Muslim community in Grenfell Tower 's and we have seen
preparations for Ramadan, the breaking of the fast, one local
pizzeria is handing out free pizzas being dropped off by local residents
to some of those hotels. This has been a day powered by volunteers and
it has been an extraordinary response from the community. It has
been quite overwhelming, Rugby Portobello said they have had
hundreds of calls from people offering spare rooms for the night
to try to how was residents and donations have covered all ends of
the culinary spectrum. Everything from KFC to organic, you can see
some of the fire trucks still trying to get through to the scene behind
me. And there have been surreal elements also. I have been sorting
through banks of mismatched socks and ?500 designer Stella McCartney
James and those three wash bags at Wehrlein sometimes give out in
business class. That perhaps takes you to the heart of what you are
talking about and what you describe as a resounding thump of inequality
which exists in this borough. It has never felt more stark than on a day
like today. The image that we were left with was 24th floors of
London's poorest people burning in their homes in one of the wealthiest
places on earth and already, even when the tragedy is barely
one-day-old, there is an ill concealed anger at something like
this could happen right here in 2017. The Frost Report tonight comes
from David Grossman. -- first report.
The first call to the Fire Brigade was just before 1am.
Jodi Martin was there as the first fire engine arrived.
He and his friends filmed what they saw.
When I got there, one fire engine was just arriving
I could see people in there, I could see the flames on the other side.
I went into the second floor for a bridge and then
went into an apartment, into the corridors.
There was an elderly couple in there and I helped them
out, it was very smoky on the second floor.
And as I was coming out, the Fire Brigade were coming up
George Clark is an architect and TV presenter.
He lives 50 yards from the tower and was woken just after 1am.
I looked out the door and I honestly couldn't believe what I saw.
All the way to the top was on fire on that corner.
I had assumed the fire had started around the other side.
Sheets and sheets of cladding and stuff falling down and on fire
and then I walked around and I was screaming people, out now.
I have never seen a fire spread that quickly in a building in my life.
But the biggest problem was the outside.
That building was re-clad last summer.
In 2016 they spent ?10 million on it.
I don't care what anyone says, there is no way that fire
should spread that quickly on a newly refurbished building.
I saw those cladding panels, the cladding on the outside
and the installation was just peeling off like
There is a new cladding system that has been put on the outside,
like a new skim and there is an air gap, and installation behind that.
To me, it just looked like that was a fantastic chimney
And we were hearing the people screaming, you could see a lady
holding her baby out the window, her toddler out the window.
Specifically, that second from the top flat, the top one
and the one underneath that, I could see a family of three
in there and the smoke just got worse and worse
And then they were not there any more.
My partner saw someone jump and over that side I know this
from what the officers were doing, someone had jumped.
I did not see them jump but I saw the aftermath,
I saw people hanging out the windows.
Banging something against the outside of the building
The kid was thrown out of the window from the eighth floor
and the guy just caught him, it was amazing.
Frances Dean has been looking for his sister,
She called him from inside the tower.
When I got here I was like, this is big.
I phoned her again, I said Zeinab, you need to come
The fire marshal said it was smoky, said I'm not
I don't think she did. She had her slippers on. It is really painful to
imagine, today, where is she? Many witnesses told us people were being
told to stay put in their flats and not risk leaving the building. Some
undoubtedly owe their survival to not hearing the advice. I just
grabbed my children and my husband and we ran through the fire exit. We
saw a woman jump, we saw people wrapped in bed sheets trying to get
down and police telling them not to. Everybody was panicking, it was
chaotic. That man sitting over there on the right hand side, he has spent
eight hours in that building. And the look in his eyes... Hell. The
stories that I have heard today from the guys who have been in that
building. There is a lot of people who have died. And from what I sold
watching this through the entire night, trying to help, I could not
do anything... Anybody who was in that building above the 14th
floor... I don't think they got out. What would have helped is there was
a fire alarm, when I was in the building it was silent, I was
shocked there was no fire alarm or sprinklers. I think people would
have got out if there was alarm. There are plenty of questions for
the council and the tenant management organisation that Brandon
Block on their behalf, particularly since fire safety was raised by
residents on many occasions. My understanding is concerns were
looked at and officers in the TMO or the council made enquiries and felt
that we had done what was necessary. The government has ordered a check
on the fire safety of all similar blocks. The official death toll is
12. Nobody expects it to stay there. One of the first people on the site
at 3:30am was Dr Shatha Hadhram and she joins me along with Pilgrim
Tucker along from the Grenfell Action Group. You could see the
flames driving back from Manchester? That is correct. I basically parked
my car at Paddington and I had to walk all the way from Paddington
because all the roads were closed and blocked. There were a lot of
paramedics trying to help evacuate the building. They opened a lot of
rescue centres, six or seven rescue centres, but we only had a fewer
nurses on site and I was the only doctor on site until 1030 PM. --
10:30am bus stop the majority of cases were people with high blood
pressure, diabetes, panic attacks. People who had come out safely? Gone
to the rescue centres and were left without medicine? They left that
behind so we had to call some hospitals and Saint Charles was one
of the first and they came with medication and doctors and nurses
and were offering help and at half past ten a lot of doctors started
flowing into the place, voluntary admen and coordinators, everything
was done on a voluntary basis. And you were still working when I find
you at 938 and? We still have some casualties and we need to take them
to evacuation centres. We heard a little bit about the Grenfell Action
Group and that has been going for seven years so inevitably... We have
the noise of the emergency services. Tell us what the goal was? I worked
with the Grenfell Action Group and residents from Grenfell Tower over a
period of many months, mainly during the summer of 2015 and they wanted
to get their voices and concerns about the building heard, they were
really worried about the potential fire hazard is here and there were
borders being put in by the contractors, blocking doorways was
the proposal, so I worked with them to help them get organised. With a
contract is asking residents... The contractors and the Tenant
Management Organisation said they had done a consultation and the
consultation was rubbish. They had designed show flats and had shown
them to the tenants and when the work started happening in the flats,
the actual properties, it was nothing like the show flat. The
residents asked the TMO to listen, they wrote to senior managers in the
TMO and the TMO did not respond. I wrote to them on behalf of the
organisation and the residents and they did not respond to us,
meanwhile the residents knew... The only time they got listened to was
when they shut their doors and put signs on the doors, refusing access
to the flats in the contractors and protested outside the housing
management offices. They signed petitions. We will hear in the
coming days from the TMO and the contractors, these are allegations
and obviously we will give them the right to respond to this. But your
sense tonight, you have got members of your own group missing?
Yes. There are women who I have tried to contact today and phone is
dead, and they have not been found yet. A lot of people will remember
the peace written in 2015 predicting loss of life. Just explain to us
what you meant that piece. Well, Ed, the guy who wrote that piece, he was
very aware, not professionally, but it was obvious that the standard of
work was really shoddy and really poor. Boilers in front of front
doors. Pipework, sticking inches outside the walls. There were power
surges that were not looked at. When the lights in the building went
dead, the fire, the emergency lighting didn't come on. And these
residents asked again and again and again and they were threatened with
legal action. When they said that they wanted this work to take place.
And you have a cost-cutting council that isn't listening to its
residents. It is a partly privatised organisation. You have a big
building company that is getting a lot of money from a lot of contracts
across London and doing shoddy work and it is not just here, it is in
other parts of London as well. And it is very distressing and, like you
said, this is a very unequal area. These are permanent residents or
ordinary residents, not the wealthy. They are not the cameras, they
cannot afford lawyers and private schools. They try to get lawyers but
because of the legal aid cuts, they could not get lawyers. We will be
putting all of those allegations and points that you raise over the
coming days to the parties at which you point the finger. So thank you
very much for that. Can I raise one more important thinking that we have
received a lot of calls asking about people's families. Our main concern
first is to give medical treatment for people at the rescue centre and
people at the hospitals. People asking for their families, the right
people to talk to our the cattle to bureau, through the police, because
they will have the full information. Each centre has a list but also,
because once they said that a family is missing, that does not mean they
could be dead. They might be at a hospital. You are with the relatives
who have missing people, what are you saying to them? We have had
missing people in the morning who have been found. A lot of people,
when they left the building, I had a man separated from his wife and a
family separated from their kids, but they found them. Some of them
went in different directions. We have six rescue centres and more
than eight hospitals that have casualties. It is just a matter of
time until they are found to stop thank you for giving us that note of
help. We really appreciate that. Thank you both very much indeed.
As you have been hearing, there have been frantic searches by frantic
relatives who have been on-site Alde, anxious to hear news about
those they cannot find. Katie Razzall has been following one man
through the day as he went in search of his relative who lived within the
town. -- within the tower. He said, I am in the building but I cannot
leave because of the smog. We're not leaving, that is what he said.
The waiting is torture. Chris Jones' brother-in-law lived with his wife
and children on the 21st door to the next floor of the tower. He spoke
with his relatives as the fire was spreading. The phone just kept
ringing. No-one answered the phone, so we called his son and the once.
We are stuck in this situation and it is difficult. Just the family, in
one place, that is difficult, because they have to make life
changing decisions. I am hoping, in my mind, that his phone has been
left on the floor, and that there was enough here to go around. I
don't know. Chris had other relatives in the block, too. A
brother and sister-in-law on the ninth floor. She was on the lower
floors and there was no problem. It was the upper floors who had the
problem. I was there at about half two and within 20 minutes the whole
estate was engulfed, but all of it. -- the whole of it. I have a lot of
hope but my god, how are they going to get out? We are just hoping.
Hours and hours of waiting. His wife was inside the centre for worried
families. Chris was in the car outside, leading news of any kind.
At least six people have died following a huge fire which engulfed
a tower block in West London. This doesn't look good. Six people? That
would be very, very lucky if just six people... We expect it to be
worse. It will be worse. How is the family bearing up, your family?
Well, they are coping. The van is going to have to roll, someone is
going to have to roll. What do you mean that? The management of the
block so big, they should have fired Stinger shares, not just barracks
tinctures but they should have fire points, something to let the tenants
know that something has gone wrong. But there was nothing, no alert,
that is not good enough, not in 2017. The father missing from the
21st floor is a hospital porter in the NHS. His three children range
from 20 down to just a few years old. There are so many people still
unaccounted for. Chris's other relatives were lucky to escape and
this afternoon he helped them take some donated belongings to the hotel
that they will sleep on tonight, paid for by the local authority. His
brother-in-law was damning about the block's fire safety. Everything was
wrong with that. No alarm, no shower water. No security. It is health and
safety, a hazard. Last night, when did you know there was a fire? What
happened? Around two o'clock, ice melt plastic burn. I woke up and I
went to the kitchen, I thought that maybe someone had left something in
the kitchen. I went into the kitchen and I saw flames, just behind the
windows. I thought, that is wrong, the ninth floor? So I opened the
window, and there was all the smoke. I said, it's serious. I went to my
wife, and I said, look, we cup, there is a fire. We woke up and took
the children and we went straight out. He has lived in the block from
19 years and he spoke to a missing relative as the fire spread. We
spoke to him at the beginning and we said get out, get out. He said OK,
and then he said no, I need to stay, it will be more safe than leaving.
Chris ferried the homeless family off to get some sleep. On social
media... But this evening on his return, dreadful rumours started to
appear online. My little cousin opened his phone, looked at it on
social media and it said, rest in peace, blah blah blah. And it was
the family. So I said, what does that mean? He said, someone says...
And I said, have they got any evidence, had they seen the person
themselves? Because if you have not seen or done anything, it is a bit
premature to send out a message like that. And he came back, well, that
is what I have been hearing. Unofficially they have said the
family is dead, all of them are dead but however, we would like to make
sure. The only time I will see it is when I can actually look at a body.
Otherwise I will not recognise anything. Because that is when I
start to Morton. -- I start to mourn.
For every story with unhappy endings, there are some happy
endings. A 13-year-old girl, missing presumed dead. Her parents had left
in the apartment as they worked on a night shift, and she has just been
reported alive and well, rescued by a neighbour. Thank you. Let's spend
the rest of the programme thinking about the root causes for some of
the mistakes that have been made that could lead to these things.
Fires will happen, obviously, and in tall buildings
without sprinkler systems, the idea is that they should be
contained in a smallish portion of the structure.
For residents, the advice is to stay put in their flats
where they are behind fire-resistant doors and then the Fire Brigade can
get the contained fire out and remove the people within,
That's the plan - but in this case the fire was not contained,
it ripped through the building, which meant the generic advice
to residents to stay put was not necessarily right.
The building cladding is an issue here.
It has been in other fires and we have ascertained that a less
fire retardant form was used in this case.
Chris Cook looks at some of the early evidence on what happened.
How can we begin to understand the scale of the disaster that began
What went wrong, and might it happen again?
First, it's worth knowing that buildings like this
The idea is that if a fire breaks out, the fire brigade
will have the time to combat it before it spreads.
That's why the building had a so-called 'stay put' policy.
People were supposed to stay in their flats
In this case, the tragic situation seems to be that the stay put
strategy which was in place has led to people being in the building
as smoke and flames penetrated right the way through the property.
The normal strategy, particularly with a tall
building, is that some people may be less able than others
to be able to escape down staircases, through 20 or 24
storeys of a building, and therefore stay put
where people may be less able to rapidly escape down a staircase.
The issue is that the fire did not stay contained.
It raced through the building, so that stay put system broke down.
The prime candidate for allowing the fire to spread
The insulation applied to the exterior of the building.
I think the attention on the cladding is because we have
seen in reports of the photographs, the burning exterior of the building
and we have seen enormous areas where the exterior is destroyed.
And of course the system that we have used, and we use it
widely in this country, and it is an accepted system,
is an aluminium composite panel system, and that system
effectively is a thin panel, probably six millimetres
thick or so, and typically it is made of two
sheets of aluminium with a core in between.
And that core, it's critical as to what it is made of,
because if we look at some of the fires elsewhere around
the world and we look at some of the fires in China
or the Middle East, for example, that have been quite devastating,
the core frequently has been a combustible type
Newsnight has learned that the specific cladding in use
in Kensington was a product called Reynobond and there are two
The first is very fireproof and the second, which has
a polyethylene core, is a bit less fireproof, and we have
established it is the second, less fireproof version
There have been questions about polyethylene core
cladding from abroad, for example following fires
Watch this polyethylene fire from France in 2012.
It starts small and then quickly jumps up floors
And within minutes, it's racing up the exterior.
But the contractors who fitted the cladding in Kensington insist
that their materials and work met the required standards.
All modern British cladding is supposed to be of
Whether our fire regulation in the right placed, though,
has been an open question since a small disaster
Since then, though, not much has happened.
That led to a very detailed coroners inquest and report and part of that,
they said that there should be a review of part
B of the regulations which govern high-rise buildings.
At the end of last year, Kevin Barwell, the Housing Minister,
said that it would be but the secretary is still waiting
for that and it was only in March this year when
the members of the all-party group on fire safety
were warning that lives would be at risk if there wasn't.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which owns the building
The government response deserves probing, too.
We need a response to make sure that other places don't
Theresa May says lessons will be learned and actions taken.
But there was a fatal fire in Camberwell in London in 2009
at a building called Lakanal House and some have drawn comparison
Jeremy Corbyn made reference to that in his response today.
A review took place after the fire in Camberwell
I believe we need to ask questions about what facilities and resources
have been given to every local authority that has tower
blocks within their area and, frankly, most do.
We need to deal with this, we need people to be safe living
Sir David Amess is the Conservative MP for Southend West and chair
of the all-Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group.
It was they who commissioned the report into that earlier
fire which Mr Corbyn was talking about there.
Matt Wrack is the General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union.
Thank you for coming in. Where any lessons learned after the Campbell
will fire? I immediately say, there are no adequate words to express my
sorrow for the affected families and it is very frustrating that we are
not being wise after the event, our voice is being heard once that has
been a disaster, we have said over and over again, sprinklers stopped
lives being lost and in 2013 the coroner, after the disaster,
recommended that sprinklers in these 4000 old tower blocks could be
fitted and that is what we have been asking for all along the school
asked for building regulations and we have been waiting 11 years. What
response have you heard? Have you been told it is too expensive? We
want to do it... Maybe another commission? This fire should not
have happened. Who are you blaming? That sounds like a central
government policy decision, your party... I am not blaming anyone, I
am very frustrated that we are not wise after the event. The all party
Parliamentary pointed out to Parliament consistently that these
things should be acted on, it is crazy that all new buildings do not
have sprinklers immediately fitted. You cannot put a price on any
person's life, that is the bottom line. Matt Wrack, what have you
taken out of this? The cladding issue? The sprinkler Bessie? I would
also like, on behalf of firefighters, to say just how
horrifying this incident is and our thoughts are with the residents and
those bereaved tonight and it sounds like that will get worse and to pay
tribute to the firefighters and emergency service workers who have
undoubtedly saved lives. The starting point is needs to be an
thorough investigation, the truth is they should not be happening in the
UK. One of the wealthiest countries in the world. After like in our
house, we have provided support, technical support from our own fire
safety experts, and clearly action has not been taken as a result. Very
serious questions have to be examined. Did either of you know
that polyethylene, partly flammable material, was used for cladding and
current renovations? And was creating this chimney effect? A
small fire races up? Those pictures from France... I woke up this
morning to see that and I have attended fires in tower blocks
before and I have never seen anything like that before in the UK.
That will shock firefighters to see the entire building engulfed. What
about this stay put advice, but is always the advice in a tall
building, it was not the right advice? I think the advice and even
in that clip, if you own flat is not affected... The logic of the
construction of tower blocks is to compartmentalise the fire, the fire
should be restricted to the flat or floor of origin, there should be
smug resistant, Smoke safe doors on every floor so that firefighters and
residents can get out if they need to and firefighters can enter the
building, but what in the bottom, get what out the top and put it onto
the fire. That is the logic but if during the course of renovations,
I'm saying this happened, if the fire resistant walls, doors,
ceilings have been compromised, then clearly the whole basis upon bad
advice is based falls apart. That is why the advice is there, in this
incident it was not clearly adequate for those people. David, hence have
to roll over this? Who will it be? -- head. It sounds like people much
higher up, fire chiefs and council chiefs, it sounds like policy
decisions? Today is the wrong day for that. Every incident, there is
somebody to blame, but I hope the new Minister, Nick Hurd, will
immediately tell all local authorities and housing associations
who have tower blocks to do an immediate review of their fire
safety precautions. Forget Parliament, this has to be done
immediately and I hope that our All Party Parliamentary Group 's, their
advice will be acted upon. Buildings renovated with polyethylene
cladding, tall buildings, we cannot call them safe? There are probably
quite a few of them around? We do not know the case -- the scale, we
had a case with six people who died, fire protection was compromised by
alterations, firefighters could not do their job in that situation and
the coroner recommended action to be taken and it has not been taken and
people living in those blocks have the right to ask those questions are
answered the point... This should not be happening. That is a horrible
aspect to this event. Thank you both very much.
What does all this say about Britain today?
A building with a population the size of a village,
Now of course, building regulations are not discriminatory,
they are not more lax for the poor than the rich.
Was renovation work done on the cheap?
Were there budget constraints in housing departments?
The building was run by a so-called TMO -
In this case, the Kensington and Chelsea one..
These are companies that look after council housing on contract.
They were created with the purported aim of giving residents power over
what happens on their estates; but the Grenfell Action Group had
That all speaks to the way the country is run -
but remember, too, that we live in an era of undocumented workers,
casual housing arrangements, friends sleeping on floors and sofas
because it's too expensive to find a place to live.
That may add poignancy to the story of the dead and missing.
Well, I'm joined by Times writer David Aaronovitch, Shaun Bailey -
Conservative member of the London Assembly
and Anna Minton, an academic who writes about housing
Good evening. Some have said this is like hurricane Katrina? Exactly
right, this is an iconic moment for British housing in a similar way to
Ronan point, which collapsed in 1968, killing four people and that
signalled the end of mass system building and all those problems, the
end of that era of tower block building. This is another symbolic
moment, this signals the end of any lack of accountability because it is
that lack of accountability that we have seen here by residents'
concerns, repeated warnings, the management organisation has failed
to listen to them and one key point- this is not a tenants management
organisation, this is an arms length management organisation, which is a
different sort of private company. It is not profit-making, it is
designed to help the residents of console stock? This is an
unaccountable quango. It has elected members? Manages 10,000 properties
in the borough, it has half of its board members, they are residents,
the rest of them are a mixture of... Residents of the borough or council
housing? I believe there are residents from those 10,000 homes,
we have a handful of residents from those 10,000 homes on that board but
it is quite clear, the report made this abundantly clear. That board
has repeatedly failed to respond... We will let them answer that when
they have collected themselves. Shaun Bailey, does this play to an
issue around power and accountability? Is that the
underlying story? The underlying story is local people, I come from
that area and my mother lives close by and there is a lot of terror
because close to Grenfell Tower, there are blocks of a similar
vintage and people are sitting in those... Have they been renovated?
People are worried, I am not sure, one person is terrified, this could
happen to us. Was it the regulations that went wrong was negligence
around how this block is managed? Those are different things and that
is what the investigation is to look at and however any building is run,
we need to see an audit of their fire risk assessments so they can be
held to account by an outside body, this is very important because once
we get past the pain of this tragic incident, we will have to look at
preventing it again and one of the key things is, who manages and how?
Currently that has not been answered properly. I will come to David...
Anna, who is a particular problem which is the cladding problem,
probably not what the tenants were complaining about, they probably did
not know this was polyethylene? They might have been aware. If it turns
out to be that, why would you focus on accountability and power issues
as opposed to a problem with the building? What I have heard is the
tenants management organisation received eight reports of a fire
risk in recent years from that tower and other towers in the borough. It
is quite clear that there are much wider issues there. David, what do
you think about the argument that this speaks to a kind of
dysfunctional relationship between the rich and the rest, the many and
the few and all these issues? This is 2017. And we should be so ashamed
that this has happened in our capital city, a disaster of this
scale. What will happen, as with what happened in the 1980s,
Bradford, Hillsborough... We will discover that the causes of this
fire, like those, were things that were easily known about and could
properly, with a fair amount of money and foresight and attention,
being dealt with. We have had an assault on the idea that the cost
and attention required from health and safety legislation and health
and safety practices... Whether or not this is a matter about poor or
rich people, we can imagine there are mansion blocks, old mansion
blocks, equally not fitted with sprinklers which equally might go up
but where the complaints would be better heard. But we do not need to
have disasters to be able to build preventative strategies into our
mindset, we just need to spend the money and pay the attention. That it
is on the board is important, I have been on many organisations and have
lived in similar blocks and if you put a lot of tenants on, it looks
good but what are you doing about the level of expertise? I would not
have known about cladding, or any risks, you cannot just build a board
and to the cosmetic thing, you have to give people access to
information. You are right but we know that external cladding was
responsible for the fire at the large to my hotel which everybody
saw on YouTube on New Year's Day 2016 and if this is true that
outside cladding can compromise every single major factor required
for safety in our tower blocks, it is beyond copper hedging by this
would not be known and acted upon. But if the All Party Parliamentary
Group's actions had been followed and there was a review of
regulations and we took regulations seriously, then that cladding would
probably have not got through. We are not very good at low probability
events that are probably not going to happen to us. That is a human
failing, I will not worry about it. But we do have people who worry an
awful lot about fire, we have fire briefings at the beginning of every
meeting in Hotel, somebody will tell us about the exits, we about this,
the criticism from David is interesting- how come we did not
know that cladding was a terrible risk and we needed sprinklers? The
cladding issue speaks to regulation but this was not a low probability
event. There were eight repeated warnings. Thousands of tenants you
that this was going to happen, they wrote about it. And the key thing is
the mix of information, stay or go? Somebody needs to be clear because
that would have saved lives. We do not know if that was wrong or right
but we need a deeper investigation by the Fire Brigade and police
because I know that tonight there are tenants worrying that if this
happened in my blog, what would I do? All disasters are low
probability events, the King's Cross fire had never happened before the
King's Cross fire but when it did happen it was obvious that at some
point it would and if it did it would happen with those
consequences. The big accountability issue about how you give people in
positions of responsibility incentives to make sure they take
the requisite precautions and spend the right amount of money? How do we
do that? You can say that as a person who was entirely responsible,
often it is just at non-decision or the decision to think about things a
little bit longer. What do we do? Do we want a culture that finds a
culprit and blames them and scares the wits off other administrators?
When you have no unaccountable quangos in charge who are not
democratically elected and will not be answerable, you're opening the
door to thing. People who say, who set budgets and regulations, we put
sprinklers into tall buildings? You are right, accountability is just
one issue because the people who might be accountable do not
necessarily know what the problems will be so what you have to build in
this culture of prevention at almost all costs, at this point. You have
to stop complaining about the health and safety culture when you have got
it, you have to prioritise it and say this is important and it might
be difficult for us and it might have us doing things we don't quite
like all the time but actually, it is a fairly essential part of seeing
this time of thing not happening. It is about mitigating the risk, you
cannot do 100% of mitigation but there is definitely something
glaringly wrong here and although this might be a low probability
event, fire is not and we understand that what starts fires and we can
fight fires, the London Fire Brigade have been very successful but this
is a very particular thing that is scaring London, there are many
buildings of this vintage in London and somebody needs to look at how we
can empower residents to look after themselves and the building because
that will mainly save lives. If those residents were confident about
what to do, more people would be alive tonight. It is not about
empowering residents, it is about the fact we have a government that
does not believe in regulation. We need to live there.
And for obvious reasons, we have not even mentioned
the resignation of Tim Farron - he stepped down as leader
of the Lib Dems, referring to the struggle of reconciling his
christianity and his leadership of a progressive party.
We couldn't do justice to the politics or the principles
of that today, so we'll get back to it tomorrow.
And I'm sure, the repercussions of this fire, as we learn more
about its causes and consequences will also be preoccupying us.