Eight hundred households in Camden tower blocks evacuated in wake of fatal Grenfell Tower fire

Some 800 households on the Chalcots estate in north London are being evacuated to allow “urgent fire safety works” to take place.

Residents from all five towers on the Chalcots estate are to be rehoused in temporary accommodation following a joint inspection that found the blocks used cladding similar to that on Grenfell Tower in Kensington, where a fire killed at least 79 people.

Camden Council initially said some 161 households in the Taplow building on the estate were being “temporarily decanted”, but that figure was later revised to include the other blocks.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “I’ve made the really, really difficult decision to move the people living [in those blocks] into temporary accommodation while we do the urgent works to guarantee safety.

“I know it’s difficult, but Grenfell changes everything, and I just don’t believe we can take any risks with our residents’ safety.”

Residents are being encouraged to stay with family or friends, or to go to a centre set up at Swiss Cottage Library where council staff will advise them on temporary accommodation.

“We will make sure that everyone on those blocks has somewhere to stay,” Ms Gould said.

Fire crews were on hand help residents, but many felt confused and let down.

Alice Clochet, who lives on the sixth floor of the Taplow block, told ITV News she was “outraged” after returning home to be informed of the mass evacuation.

Ms Clochet said she felt most for young families, asking: “Where are they going to go?”

Fellow resident Mohammed Sharif, who has lived on the Chalcots estate since 2009, said: “It’s going to be a nightmare to leave.”

Mr Sharif said he wanted to stay “another night or two” so his young family could move out in an “organised way”, adding: “I don’t want to go too far as my kids go to school here.”

Teacher Kim Price, who lives in Blashford tower with her 14-year-old son, said: “I really don’t know what to do, I’m so scared right now.

“The news has said ‘get out now’ but the authorities have said ‘stay put’. But why now? At 4pm today they said it would be okay and that all the checks were fine.”

Camden Council’s decision comes as a vast operation is under way across the UK to identify buildings with similar cladding like to that used on the Grenfell Tower.

The Council earlier identified a number of blocks that used similar cladding and it emerged in recent days that the work was carried out by the same group of companies contracted at Grenfell Tower.

The work was overseen by Rydon, the company involved in the refit of Grenfell Tower, according to the Rydon website.

Camden Council’s Ms Gould said that while the insulation was safe, the external cladding was not up to the expected standard and the work would last several weeks.

Work has begun work to remove the panels,

A London Fire Brigade spokesperson said: “The specific type of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) panels were identified as being used as cladding at the Chalcots Estate.

“Since receiving confirmation of this, London Fire Brigade have been working at the estate with Camden Council and following extensive joint visits and inspections, the Brigade advised that a number of fire safety issues in the buildings need remedying.”

The news comes as four more victims of Grenfell Tower were formally identified, taking the known victims of the fire to nine.

Source : http://www.itv.com/news/2017-06-23/camden-tower-block-evacuated-in-wake-of-fatal-grenfell-tower-fire/