Camden residents evacuated from tower blocks after Grenfell fire claim homes are still unsafe due to ‘shoddy’ repairs


Residents evacuated from London tower blocks after the Grenfell fire today claimed their homes were still unsafe due to “shoddy” work.

Complaints include fire doors that will not close and even electrical cables boxed in with cardboard.

Camden council gave 3,000 people on its Chalcots estate at Swiss Cottage hours to quit their homes for “urgent internal safety work” in the wake of the blaze at Grenfell Tower on June 14. 

Council leader Georgia Gould today said the fire brigade had approved residents’ return and only non-urgent work was left to be carried out.

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Residents evacuated from Chalcots Estate tower blocks arrive at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre and Library in Camden in June. (EPA)

But independent safety expert Matthew Needham-Laing told the BBC’s Today programme that photographs of the faults suggested the building was not safe enough for people to live in.

“Those fire doors are not adequate,” he said. “They would not, from the photos I have seen, achieve 30-minute fire protection as they are required to do. If the stairwell becomes compromised, it will be full of toxic smoke … then the means of escape is effectively cut off for people on the upper floors.”

Ella May, a single mother of three who lives in Taplow tower, received a council letter cancelling her hotel room and telling her to move back home. She said she was “petrified” after finding electrical cables running from her flat’s fuse box to a hole in the ceiling.

“I don’t want to come home,” she told the programme. “I don’t want to bring my children into an environment where potentially we could die.”

Ms Gould said she would meet residents and added: “I’m clear that Grenfell changes everything.”

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