'Grenfell Changes Everything': Hundreds Of Homes Evacuated Over Safety Fears

The Latest UK update 27 high-rises have dangerous cladding

A local London council has made a decision to evacuate some 800 households in apartment buildings it owns because of safety concerns following the devastating fire that killed 79 people in a west London high-rise.

Twenty-seven high-rise apartments, in areas including Manchester, London, and Portsmouth have failed fire cladding safety tests so far, the British government confirmed on Saturday.

27 apartment blocks in 15 areas fail fire cladding tests - United Kingdom govt.

Details were released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) less than 24 hours after Camden Council in London decided on the immediate evacuation of hundreds of residents from four of its tower blocks on the Chalcots Estate in north London, Efe news reported. The emails, dating from 2014 and seen by Reuters, were between Deborah French, Arconic's United Kingdom sales manager, and executives at the contractors involved in the bidding process for the refurbishment contract at Grenfell Tower in London, where 79 people died in a blaze last week.

The council initially announced the evacuation of one tower block, Taplow, but later extended the move to all five tower blocks it had checked.

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"People are very concerned - I've spent most of the day visiting residents around my constituency particularly where there are concerns about cladding".

"That's just the residents we have spoken to who have pets, and we are looking at finding out what their arrangements are and finding out how we can help and support them", he said.

"There were also concerns that some fire doors in the building are not working as they should", Daly continued, "meaning that in the event of a fire it could spread to other parts of the building".

London Fire Brigade inspecting officers identified concerns over the combination of external cladding, fire doors, gas pipes and insulation, she added. "This is a nightmare, there was a fire in the block two years ago and it was contained, so I don't really see what all the fuss is about".

People were told to leave as darkness began to fall, with some taking belongings in suitcases and carrier bags, and some locals saying they only learned of the evacuation as they watched the news.

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Police said on Friday they were considering filing manslaughter charges over the Grenfell disaster and they were conducting a wide-ranging investigation that would look at everything that contributed to it. Others were being put up in hotels and other housing projects.

"We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards", Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters.

Six emails sent by and to an Arconic Inc (ARNC.N) sales manager raise questions about why the company supplied combustible cladding to a distributor for use at Grenfell Tower, despite publicly warning such panels were a fire risk for tall buildings. McCormack said the Hotpoint model FF175BP refrigerator-freezer had not been subject to any product recalls before the fire.

The government also urged building owners, public and private, to submit samples of their cladding material for testing, since fears about cladding are not limited to apartment buildings. Repairs on the building are expected to be completed within three to four weeks. At least one hotel chain is calling in experts to make certain its properties meet safety regulations. To encourage cooperation with authorities and get a true number of the victims, May said the government won't penalize any Grenfell fire survivors who were in the country illegally.

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