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grenfell tower on fire

A fire in a tower block in London spread to burn out the whole 27 storey building, with large loss of life, possibly almost 100 dead. The probable cause of the fire was said to be a faulty refrigerator in a 4th floor flat, followed by an astoundingly quick spread of the flames, involving recently applied insulation panels on the external walls of the building, which ignited to cause a massive conflagration. Some residents threw out their children and themselves from the building, in sights that will be all too familiar after the Twin Towers. Others waved from windows asking for help, but there was no external way of bringing them down, and even water hoses could reach little further than the 6th floor.

Residents said that no alarms sounded; and that the advice they had been given was that they should stay in their flats behind their fire proof doors, which would keep them safe for at least an hour while the fire service, which arrived within 6 minutes, put out the blaze. In fact, the fire service was not able to deal with the fast-spreading fire, and many people were burned alive in their flats. Many bodies will never be recovered.

There are many facts which have come to the fore after this terrible event, with more coming out each day, and more when the official enquiry takes place. The first is that some electrical devices such as fridges and freezers are known previously to have exploded in people’s homes elsewhere, sometimes causing fatalities. This is rare, but is said to be a little higher with new environment-friendly coolants. If a malfunctioning fridge can cause a tower block to burn down then everything installed or stored in a flat will have to be monitored very carefully for ever. If the polyethylene core insulation cladding was the cause of the spread of the fire, as seems all too evident in the pictures taken of the conflagration, then either it was specified wrongly, or applied wrongly, or the established fire testing techniques and quality controls on building materials are at fault. Luxury flats in the Arabian Gulf and Australia have suffered similar fires, so there may be a world-wide problem with some external insulation panels. They are banned or restricted in Germany and the US.

There was no sprinkler system in the building, but it was built of concrete, and the internal compartmentalization of the apartments should have prevented the fire from spreading quickly. In fact, the external insulation may have bridged that protection by providing an inflammable chimney all around the building. The tower has 6 flats per floor, and only one internal staircase, meaning that any blockage of that staircase for any reason, including toxic smoke, builder’s materials or personal belongings, effectively prevents emergency exit. The internal staircase debouches into the same common ground floor lounge where the 2 lift shafts debouche, so a moderate fire in that lounge would cut off both exit routes. Fireproof separation of the exit routes would be preferable. The external entrance to that ground floor also had no covering roof even for a few yards of the walkway, so blazing insulating materials and debris fell on those leaving and entering. As the fire took hold there were shattering explosions, with blue flames, which might have been the partly installed new domestic gas supplies in not-yet-covered gas pipes, or possibly propane gas cylinders used by some residents for cooking. Which of these is unknown, but explosions were reported, and the blue flames noted.

The standard policy of fire-fighters walking up smoke-filled stairs carrying heavy equipment is called into question by this blaze. It reveals that fire safety is based on a “just in time” approach, in which any interruption of the supply chain can be fatal. Even a short pause to assemble the fire team and to brief them on procedures may have been enough, in this instance, to prevent any control being gained over the fire. No structure should be that vulnerable.

Also in doubt is the concept of standard advice. Staying in a relatively fire-proof flat may seem better than wandering in a smoke-filled corridor, but it depends on a very prompt and effective firefighting. Running out immediately has its risks, but gives more certainty.

The better advice might be to give general principles and ask people to use common sense. For example, during a hotel fire in Scandinavia many guests stayed in their rooms, having put wet towels at the foot of the doors to their rooms and wetting the door to prevent it burning. Many suffocated. Those who, against all advice, broke open the windows to their room gained extra oxygen and survived. However, the advice that one should be flexible comes across as no advice at all, so I can understand why it is not given.

Never mentioned is the option of training all residents to fight small domestic fires with fire extinguishers and fire proof blankets. Fire services generally don’t like such advice, but it is within the capabilities of most adults, given some training. It is worth having a higher level of preparedness. However, that sense of self-effectiveness is not the cultural norm currently.

Anyway, we have a set of official procedures which cannot cope for particular individual circumstances, which is not surprising, because no set of procedures can deal with every new event. The advice was probably appropriate for a building without cladding, though a sprinkler system would probably have improved survivability in all circumstances. The fire was a test of quick thinking, and gut level responses. The instinct of flight was validated. Those who behaved well, and waited, did not have their trust repaid.

When dealing with safety, it is very difficult to draw out a full fault tree. The cladding may not have been seen as crucial to fire safety, but merely a surface characteristic, improving insulation and cosmetic appearance. However, a proper installation would have fire breaks between floors. It is very hard to anticipate all new events, and to understand the interactions of changes in the original design characteristics of the building. Perhaps artificial intelligence will come to the rescue when simulating safety advice, but there will always be unintended consequences to any change.

In summary, the building was unsafe, many people died, and the causes need to be identified and remedied quickly.

While the fire was still burning the following day, it became evident that a political debate would begin. Grenfell Tower is Council housing, that is, subsidized housing. Councils are responsible for housing everyone in their borough, and get central government support through a complicated procedure, in which is it not clear how much flexibility is allowed to local Councils. Councils say this limits their borrowing powers, and gives them responsibilities but a limited budget. Central government intends to eventually reimburse those boroughs who have new residents wanting subsidized accommodation. That is to say, a person seeking subsidized housing can seek it in any borough, and people usually prefer urban centres with good facilities, near where their friends are.

London is under more housing pressure than the rest of the country. Hence London boroughs are coping with free market prices, and having to find ways of financing council accommodation at subsidized prices. Moving people out to cheaper locations is rarely possible, and is seen as a political machination. Central government is supposedly in charge of regulating immigration, and local government is in charge of housing all who request it, whatever the inward flows.

Now add yet another national political layer of contention. The residents of the tower were mostly immigrants. Immigration has increased massively since 1997, so much so that the Government can no longer be sure how many immigrants are present in the United Kingdom. Here are the best available numbers from an independent group critical of immigration policy, who are usually accurate. Since 2003 there have been a net 250,000 migrants entering England, and virtually all of them are in urban centers, a majority in London. Newspapers today have been discussing an estimate that illegal immigration is running at 150,000 a year. Official figures are lower.

migration watch total migration

Whatever the numbers, there is no justification for unsafe housing, but it is clear that current numbers put a strain on all public facilities. Forgotten in the general discussion is that this particular disaster happened because the relevant Borough was spending money on this tower block. The specification and workmanship may very well have been wrong, but money was being spent.

Nonetheless the residents of this block and others like it understandably complain that they have been given totally unsafe housing, and some politicians imply it is because of their poverty and ethnic background. Some point to the residents of the rich Borough as not having given council tenants the safety standards they deserve. The Borough claim they have met the relevant standards.

The Borough has not explained that they did not determine the national policies which resulted in them having many immigrants who have to be housed in their borough at public expense. Any Borough faces this dilemma: they are in the front line of housing, and must bend to national policies, and seek the necessary funding later. The Borough did not invite the immigrants but must provide them with housing and services and also seek to get their votes at local elections.

As far as can be determined, there have been very similar cladding fires in buildings owned and used by very wealthy people, so it is not primarily a contrast between private and public housing, but the cladding in this particular case seems to have been slightly cheaper and also more flammable than other versions, which suggests corners were cut on safety. In keeping with the current way of investigating events, investigations are being done at breakneck speed by journalists. The facts being unearthed may be right, or may be wrong, but the news rolls on with apparent disclosures and denunciations. At a time of tremendous emotion and anger the arguments have become savage, with accusations of manslaughter already being voiced. Sad times, with ugly undercurrents.

These claims and counter-claims have lit a new fire, which I hope will not be larger than the first.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Britain, Immigration 
43 Comments to "Towers of Fire"
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  1. dearieme says:

    “The first is that some electrical devices such as fridges and freezers are known previously to have exploded in people’s homes elsewhere, sometimes causing fatalities. This is rare, but is said to be a little higher with new environment-friendly coolants.” Since the “environmentally friendly” refrigerants I’ve seen mentioned are pentane and iso-butane, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are more of a fire and explosion hazard than Freons. What with being flammable, you know.

    Similarly, people who sound as if they know what they’re talking about say that the cladding is meant to be “green” and is potentially deadly. The usual green policies, which seem almost designed to kill brown and black people in the Third World, have now killed a noticeable number in London. The worshippers of Gaia should be ashamed of themselves. Fat chance! The virtue signalling will continue, comrades!

    By the way, in order of importance the cladding issue is the big one. If you make a whole tower vulnerable like that, a dangerous source of ignition will present itself sooner or later, exploding fridges or no.

    Personally I’d also heap a fair bit of blame on the marxisant architects of the 60s and 70s who pressed for storing council tenants in towers like that, and disparaged as reactionaries people who argued that comparable population densities could be achieved with conventional housing.

    Read More
    • Agree: German_reader
    • Replies: @Anon

    comparable population densities could be achieved with conventional housing.
     
    Just curious, but how can they? I wouldn't mind even just a link, or a few book recommendations.
    , @Anonymous
    I just googled up that there are roughly 300 domestic fires attributable to fridges/freezers per annum in the entire UK.
    So, roughly, on a conservative basis, on any given day, 'fewer than one' fridge/freezer fires occur.
    Let's say that one fridge/freezer fire per day occurs in the entire UK. Let's, for argument's sake, say that there are 30 million domestic fridge/freezers in the UK.

    That, gives the vanishingly infinitesimal probability of less than one in 30 million that *on that particular day* the said fridge/freezer spontaneously combusted, rather than some yet identified 'other cause' started the conflagration.

    I do hope that that particular tenant's history with the council is being probed.
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  2. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @dearieme
    "The first is that some electrical devices such as fridges and freezers are known previously to have exploded in people’s homes elsewhere, sometimes causing fatalities. This is rare, but is said to be a little higher with new environment-friendly coolants." Since the "environmentally friendly" refrigerants I've seen mentioned are pentane and iso-butane, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are more of a fire and explosion hazard than Freons. What with being flammable, you know.

    Similarly, people who sound as if they know what they're talking about say that the cladding is meant to be "green" and is potentially deadly. The usual green policies, which seem almost designed to kill brown and black people in the Third World, have now killed a noticeable number in London. The worshippers of Gaia should be ashamed of themselves. Fat chance! The virtue signalling will continue, comrades!

    By the way, in order of importance the cladding issue is the big one. If you make a whole tower vulnerable like that, a dangerous source of ignition will present itself sooner or later, exploding fridges or no.

    Personally I'd also heap a fair bit of blame on the marxisant architects of the 60s and 70s who pressed for storing council tenants in towers like that, and disparaged as reactionaries people who argued that comparable population densities could be achieved with conventional housing.

    comparable population densities could be achieved with conventional housing.

    Just curious, but how can they? I wouldn’t mind even just a link, or a few book recommendations.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    Over the years the journalist Simon Jenkins has written about it a lot: probably he mentions sources from time to time. Currently he writes at the Guardian: I think he used to write at The Times.

    Edit: here's a recent article by him.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/15/lessons-grenfell-tower-safer-cladding-tower-blocks

  3. dearieme says:
    @Anon

    comparable population densities could be achieved with conventional housing.
     
    Just curious, but how can they? I wouldn't mind even just a link, or a few book recommendations.

    Over the years the journalist Simon Jenkins has written about it a lot: probably he mentions sources from time to time. Currently he writes at the Guardian: I think he used to write at The Times.

    Edit: here’s a recent article by him.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/15/lessons-grenfell-tower-safer-cladding-tower-blocks

    Read More
    • Replies: @James Thompson
    Good article. Streets are better than corridors. Terraces are easy to use, and at 3 storey heights are not dependent on lifts, and have much lower fire risk.
  4. @dearieme
    Over the years the journalist Simon Jenkins has written about it a lot: probably he mentions sources from time to time. Currently he writes at the Guardian: I think he used to write at The Times.

    Edit: here's a recent article by him.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/15/lessons-grenfell-tower-safer-cladding-tower-blocks

    Good article. Streets are better than corridors. Terraces are easy to use, and at 3 storey heights are not dependent on lifts, and have much lower fire risk.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Cortes
    Check out the linked article...

    The blaze was apparently caused by a penny pinching retired surgeon:

    http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/14517547.Luxury_apartments_in_leafy_Thorntonhall_destroyed_by_fire_after_pensioner_used_heat_gun_to_defrost_freezer/

    A minor quibble. Your article is excellent.
  5. Randal says:

    Since 2003 there have been a net 250,000 migrants entering England, and virtually all of them are in urban centers, a majority in London.

    Presumably you meant to write: “a net 250,000 migrants entering England per annum”.

    The figures are for the UK, rather than England, but as a first approximation it seems reasonable to assume that the two are the same, since the vast majority of immigration is to England. The net figure since 2003 is therefore approx. 3 1/4 million.

    Though how useful net migration is as an indicator of the scale of the harm caused by mass immigration is open to question. If a thousand foreigners come here and 500 Brits leave, that’s a net change to nature of the population of 1500, not 500. The number of foreigners immigrating every year (official figures) has been around or above half a million every year since 2002.

    Here’s one of the best essays I’ve seen on the treasonous atrocity that has been mass immigration to this country – essentially destroying a vital and probably irretrievable asset that took a millennium to build:

    Unmaking England

    Read More
    • Replies: @James Thompson
    Thanks for your comments (yes, the figures are per annum) and the link to the wide ranging and informative essay.
    , @Sowhat
    Setting aside the tragedy, this is just another "costs of war" "moment." All of Neocon and deep state hegemon is a bleeping curse on Western society and a consequence of globalism and Western greed.
    , @EH
    Counting both emigrants and immigrants as changes in the population, a rough total of the two over the 25 years of the graph is 20 million. This is an overestimate, as some immigrants subsequently emigrate and some emigres return, but an net influx of something like 7.5 million non-British ethnicity and a net emigration of about 4.5 million of British ethnicity for a total change in ethnic makeup of 12 million is probably a bit low. The population of the UK was 60-65M over this period and the population of England was 48-55M, so roughly a 20% change in population. Many of these are Irish, Polish, or German rather than from more foreign cultures. In 2011 about 7.7M out of 53M in England (14.5%) were non-white and 42.3M or 80% were White British (not Irish, American, or continental European) .
  6. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Clearly more socialist discipline and control is needed, and above all power and authority. How can all those clever conscientious people in government be expected to get everything perfectly right when they are being distracted by criticisms of the very system and undermined by microagressions and worse that make them doubt their competence and even hesitant in planning and decision making involving using their own discretion or initiative.

    Undermining by criticism has led to the stage when they can’t even contemplate effectively running a discretionary war or be sure of defending the country against an involuntary one.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "How can all those clever conscientious people in government ...": the company that ran the tower block is a "Tenant Management Organisation" i.e. the majority on its board consists of council tenants. It doesn't distribute profits but ploughs them back into the properties.

    In other words, it's not an arm of government organisation but a 'community' organisation. So much for that rather herbivorous leftie idea; it might work in terraced houses but it seems to have been a calamitous failure on this tower block.

    We'll see: the inquiry might reveal quite a bit that nobody has yet guessed at.

    http://www.kctmo.org.uk/sub/about-us/22/constitution-and-accounts

  7. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @dearieme
    "The first is that some electrical devices such as fridges and freezers are known previously to have exploded in people’s homes elsewhere, sometimes causing fatalities. This is rare, but is said to be a little higher with new environment-friendly coolants." Since the "environmentally friendly" refrigerants I've seen mentioned are pentane and iso-butane, you can bet your bottom dollar that they are more of a fire and explosion hazard than Freons. What with being flammable, you know.

    Similarly, people who sound as if they know what they're talking about say that the cladding is meant to be "green" and is potentially deadly. The usual green policies, which seem almost designed to kill brown and black people in the Third World, have now killed a noticeable number in London. The worshippers of Gaia should be ashamed of themselves. Fat chance! The virtue signalling will continue, comrades!

    By the way, in order of importance the cladding issue is the big one. If you make a whole tower vulnerable like that, a dangerous source of ignition will present itself sooner or later, exploding fridges or no.

    Personally I'd also heap a fair bit of blame on the marxisant architects of the 60s and 70s who pressed for storing council tenants in towers like that, and disparaged as reactionaries people who argued that comparable population densities could be achieved with conventional housing.

    I just googled up that there are roughly 300 domestic fires attributable to fridges/freezers per annum in the entire UK.
    So, roughly, on a conservative basis, on any given day, ‘fewer than one’ fridge/freezer fires occur.
    Let’s say that one fridge/freezer fire per day occurs in the entire UK. Let’s, for argument’s sake, say that there are 30 million domestic fridge/freezers in the UK.

    That, gives the vanishingly infinitesimal probability of less than one in 30 million that *on that particular day* the said fridge/freezer spontaneously combusted, rather than some yet identified ‘other cause’ started the conflagration.

    I do hope that that particular tenant’s history with the council is being probed.

    Read More
    • Replies: @James Thompson
    In my view there is no need to predict that a particular fridge will go on fire on a particular day, merely that there will be roughly 300 such fires per annum, (a one in 100,00 chance if we have a reasonable baseline of 30 million fridges, as you suggest) regardless of where they are and what day they burn out. So, there is a low chance (1/100/000) that the fridge went on fire, but they do go on fire. Now, the rate may be higher for old fridges, or cheap ones, or ones covered up to prevent cooling air circulation, but that is a refinement in a low rate of malfunction. It is possible that the fridge caused the fire in the flat.

    Late in the day I realize that a key datum is the time between the fire being noted and the fire service being called. This will be difficult to establish precisely, but given that a neighbour looked in through the front door of the flat where the fire reportedly started, and saw the device already ablaze, it would seem the tenant did not keep the door closed, which would have reduced the oxygen flow. This will be an important part of the analysis of what went wrong.
    , @dearieme
    *on that particular day* But there's nothing particular about that day.

    Anyway, if there really is an ongoing increase in fridges with flammable refrigerants, historical data may underrate the risks.
  8. dearieme says:
    @Anonymous
    Clearly more socialist discipline and control is needed, and above all power and authority. How can all those clever conscientious people in government be expected to get everything perfectly right when they are being distracted by criticisms of the very system and undermined by microagressions and worse that make them doubt their competence and even hesitant in planning and decision making involving using their own discretion or initiative.

    Undermining by criticism has led to the stage when they can't even contemplate effectively running a discretionary war or be sure of defending the country against an involuntary one.

    “How can all those clever conscientious people in government …”: the company that ran the tower block is a “Tenant Management Organisation” i.e. the majority on its board consists of council tenants. It doesn’t distribute profits but ploughs them back into the properties.

    In other words, it’s not an arm of government organisation but a ‘community’ organisation. So much for that rather herbivorous leftie idea; it might work in terraced houses but it seems to have been a calamitous failure on this tower block.

    We’ll see: the inquiry might reveal quite a bit that nobody has yet guessed at.

    http://www.kctmo.org.uk/sub/about-us/22/constitution-and-accounts

    Read More
    • Replies: @Tsar Nicholas
    Actually, the majority of its board are not tenants.

    There are two ways to construe the phrase "tenant management." Yours seems to be that it is tenants who do the managing.

    The other construction of the phrase is that it is the tenants who are being managed.

    It's a bit like the Twilight Zone episode, "To Serve Man." In that story, aliens come to earth and everyone assumes their intentions are benign because they leave behind a book with those three words on its front cover. Unfortunately, the earthlings only find out at the last moment that, in fact, it's a cook book.

    These properties used to be straight out owned and controlled by the locally elected council. However, as with everywhere else around the UK, central governments of both Labour and Conservative inclination have preferred in the last 20 years to move them from direct council control to vague and hard-to-understand arms length entities.

  9. @Randal

    Since 2003 there have been a net 250,000 migrants entering England, and virtually all of them are in urban centers, a majority in London.
     
    Presumably you meant to write: "a net 250,000 migrants entering England per annum".

    The figures are for the UK, rather than England, but as a first approximation it seems reasonable to assume that the two are the same, since the vast majority of immigration is to England. The net figure since 2003 is therefore approx. 3 1/4 million.

    Though how useful net migration is as an indicator of the scale of the harm caused by mass immigration is open to question. If a thousand foreigners come here and 500 Brits leave, that's a net change to nature of the population of 1500, not 500. The number of foreigners immigrating every year (official figures) has been around or above half a million every year since 2002.

    Here's one of the best essays I've seen on the treasonous atrocity that has been mass immigration to this country - essentially destroying a vital and probably irretrievable asset that took a millennium to build:

    Unmaking England

    Thanks for your comments (yes, the figures are per annum) and the link to the wide ranging and informative essay.

    Read More
  10. @Anonymous
    I just googled up that there are roughly 300 domestic fires attributable to fridges/freezers per annum in the entire UK.
    So, roughly, on a conservative basis, on any given day, 'fewer than one' fridge/freezer fires occur.
    Let's say that one fridge/freezer fire per day occurs in the entire UK. Let's, for argument's sake, say that there are 30 million domestic fridge/freezers in the UK.

    That, gives the vanishingly infinitesimal probability of less than one in 30 million that *on that particular day* the said fridge/freezer spontaneously combusted, rather than some yet identified 'other cause' started the conflagration.

    I do hope that that particular tenant's history with the council is being probed.

    In my view there is no need to predict that a particular fridge will go on fire on a particular day, merely that there will be roughly 300 such fires per annum, (a one in 100,00 chance if we have a reasonable baseline of 30 million fridges, as you suggest) regardless of where they are and what day they burn out. So, there is a low chance (1/100/000) that the fridge went on fire, but they do go on fire. Now, the rate may be higher for old fridges, or cheap ones, or ones covered up to prevent cooling air circulation, but that is a refinement in a low rate of malfunction. It is possible that the fridge caused the fire in the flat.

    Late in the day I realize that a key datum is the time between the fire being noted and the fire service being called. This will be difficult to establish precisely, but given that a neighbour looked in through the front door of the flat where the fire reportedly started, and saw the device already ablaze, it would seem the tenant did not keep the door closed, which would have reduced the oxygen flow. This will be an important part of the analysis of what went wrong.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Another point, although the British building regs, the British Standards Institute, the Building Research Establishment etc etc are getting an awful lot of flak for apparently approving this type of cladding, building regs in the UK are actually very tough especially when high rises and fire resistance are concerned. They always have been ever since a sceptical population - and the London Fire Brigade allowed the construction of buildings of more than eight stories in height back in the post 1945 period.
    The key was that concrete is its own fire proofing, thus obviating sprinkler systems etc. It's noteworthy that after being subject to that fierce heat, the tower structure is still standing.


    Now, doubtless the cladding material was approved on the grounds that its high flash point - aluminium can burn at very high temperatures - would never be attained under any conceivable domestic circumstances. Plus the fact that the external cladding has good 6 inches of concrete between it and the flat interior.

    Suggestive of the use of accelerants, methinks.
  11. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @James Thompson
    In my view there is no need to predict that a particular fridge will go on fire on a particular day, merely that there will be roughly 300 such fires per annum, (a one in 100,00 chance if we have a reasonable baseline of 30 million fridges, as you suggest) regardless of where they are and what day they burn out. So, there is a low chance (1/100/000) that the fridge went on fire, but they do go on fire. Now, the rate may be higher for old fridges, or cheap ones, or ones covered up to prevent cooling air circulation, but that is a refinement in a low rate of malfunction. It is possible that the fridge caused the fire in the flat.

    Late in the day I realize that a key datum is the time between the fire being noted and the fire service being called. This will be difficult to establish precisely, but given that a neighbour looked in through the front door of the flat where the fire reportedly started, and saw the device already ablaze, it would seem the tenant did not keep the door closed, which would have reduced the oxygen flow. This will be an important part of the analysis of what went wrong.

    Another point, although the British building regs, the British Standards Institute, the Building Research Establishment etc etc are getting an awful lot of flak for apparently approving this type of cladding, building regs in the UK are actually very tough especially when high rises and fire resistance are concerned. They always have been ever since a sceptical population – and the London Fire Brigade allowed the construction of buildings of more than eight stories in height back in the post 1945 period.
    The key was that concrete is its own fire proofing, thus obviating sprinkler systems etc. It’s noteworthy that after being subject to that fierce heat, the tower structure is still standing.

    Now, doubtless the cladding material was approved on the grounds that its high flash point – aluminium can burn at very high temperatures – would never be attained under any conceivable domestic circumstances. Plus the fact that the external cladding has good 6 inches of concrete between it and the flat interior.

    Suggestive of the use of accelerants, methinks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "Suggestive of the use of accelerants, methinks." I had wondered about that. I''ve also wondered about how vulnerable other tower blocks now are to criminals, hooligans and terrorists.
    , @Pericles
    My first thought was that the apartment housed an, er, improvised chemical lab that caught fire.
  12. Randal says:

    Now, doubtless the cladding material was approved on the grounds that its high flash point – aluminium can burn at very high temperatures – would never be attained under any conceivable domestic circumstances.

    This BBC Newsnight report (timestamped 6 hours ago) suggests aluminium cladding with a plastic rather than mineral core was used, the latter being available as an alternative, and that such a use would be unsuitable for a high rise building.

    London fire: Grenfell Tower cladding ‘linked to other fires’

    The report also suggests that government sources say: “if this cladding was used, it would not comply with current building regulations”, while the contractors involved are reported as saying “the work met all fire regulations” and “building control and safety standards had been fully met”.

    There appears to be a contradiction here that will need to be resolved, with likely dire consequences for somebody.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    Note the difference in tense there. The govt sources speak in the present tense, the contractors in the past tense. Has there been a very recent change in regs?
  13. dearieme says:

    One of the early stories in the paper said that the fellow whose fridge was on fire spent some minutes packing his belongings before he warned his neighbour. Very possibly, but the point is that you have to design and manage property to survive that sort of behaviour.

    Read More
  14. dearieme says:
    @Anonymous
    Another point, although the British building regs, the British Standards Institute, the Building Research Establishment etc etc are getting an awful lot of flak for apparently approving this type of cladding, building regs in the UK are actually very tough especially when high rises and fire resistance are concerned. They always have been ever since a sceptical population - and the London Fire Brigade allowed the construction of buildings of more than eight stories in height back in the post 1945 period.
    The key was that concrete is its own fire proofing, thus obviating sprinkler systems etc. It's noteworthy that after being subject to that fierce heat, the tower structure is still standing.


    Now, doubtless the cladding material was approved on the grounds that its high flash point - aluminium can burn at very high temperatures - would never be attained under any conceivable domestic circumstances. Plus the fact that the external cladding has good 6 inches of concrete between it and the flat interior.

    Suggestive of the use of accelerants, methinks.

    “Suggestive of the use of accelerants, methinks.” I had wondered about that. I”ve also wondered about how vulnerable other tower blocks now are to criminals, hooligans and terrorists.

    Read More
  15. dearieme says:
    @Randal

    Now, doubtless the cladding material was approved on the grounds that its high flash point – aluminium can burn at very high temperatures – would never be attained under any conceivable domestic circumstances.
     
    This BBC Newsnight report (timestamped 6 hours ago) suggests aluminium cladding with a plastic rather than mineral core was used, the latter being available as an alternative, and that such a use would be unsuitable for a high rise building.

    London fire: Grenfell Tower cladding 'linked to other fires'

    The report also suggests that government sources say: "if this cladding was used, it would not comply with current building regulations", while the contractors involved are reported as saying "the work met all fire regulations" and "building control and safety standards had been fully met".

    There appears to be a contradiction here that will need to be resolved, with likely dire consequences for somebody.

    Note the difference in tense there. The govt sources speak in the present tense, the contractors in the past tense. Has there been a very recent change in regs?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Good point - that would be one way to resolve the apparent contradiction.

    Most likely the contractors' past tense is because the work was completed in the past. How precisely worded the government sources' use of the present tense might be we will probably have to wait for further reporting to find out.
  16. dearieme says:
    @Anonymous
    I just googled up that there are roughly 300 domestic fires attributable to fridges/freezers per annum in the entire UK.
    So, roughly, on a conservative basis, on any given day, 'fewer than one' fridge/freezer fires occur.
    Let's say that one fridge/freezer fire per day occurs in the entire UK. Let's, for argument's sake, say that there are 30 million domestic fridge/freezers in the UK.

    That, gives the vanishingly infinitesimal probability of less than one in 30 million that *on that particular day* the said fridge/freezer spontaneously combusted, rather than some yet identified 'other cause' started the conflagration.

    I do hope that that particular tenant's history with the council is being probed.

    *on that particular day* But there’s nothing particular about that day.

    Anyway, if there really is an ongoing increase in fridges with flammable refrigerants, historical data may underrate the risks.

    Read More
  17. While I am not one to buy into conspiracy theories, except perhaps for the claim that The CIA invented the term conspiracy theory, I have heard that some people allege that the Grenfell Tower fire was deliberately lit to distract from Muslim attacks in London.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Not implausible. MI6 has a history of false flag ops.
  18. Randal says:
    @dearieme
    Note the difference in tense there. The govt sources speak in the present tense, the contractors in the past tense. Has there been a very recent change in regs?

    Good point – that would be one way to resolve the apparent contradiction.

    Most likely the contractors’ past tense is because the work was completed in the past. How precisely worded the government sources’ use of the present tense might be we will probably have to wait for further reporting to find out.

    Read More
  19. Cortes says:
    @James Thompson
    Good article. Streets are better than corridors. Terraces are easy to use, and at 3 storey heights are not dependent on lifts, and have much lower fire risk.

    Check out the linked article…

    The blaze was apparently caused by a penny pinching retired surgeon:

    http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/14517547.Luxury_apartments_in_leafy_Thorntonhall_destroyed_by_fire_after_pensioner_used_heat_gun_to_defrost_freezer/

    A minor quibble. Your article is excellent.

    Read More
  20. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Peripatetic commenter
    While I am not one to buy into conspiracy theories, except perhaps for the claim that The CIA invented the term conspiracy theory, I have heard that some people allege that the Grenfell Tower fire was deliberately lit to distract from Muslim attacks in London.

    Not implausible. MI6 has a history of false flag ops.

    Read More
  21. A bit of perspective.

    In America, annual deaths to fire are about 10 persons per million of population, which is about twice the rate in Britain.

    In the UK, annual deaths to fire are about 5.5 persons per million of population.

    https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/#tab-2

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/618561/infographic-fire-statistics-england-1516.pdf

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I wonder what % of fires in the U.S. are started by immigrants from warm weather countries unfamiliar with the safe use of space heaters.
  22. dearieme says:

    From this morning’s Telegraph: Christopher Booker says that he’s had an e-mail from the chap who sold the original 1974 cladding to the council. It was asbestos-based and therefore would have been safe in the fire. I had conjectured on another blog thread that the original design must have been protected by asbestos, and that it must have been ripped out in the great asbestos panic; seems that I was right. (Booker doesn’t make the point, but the white asbestos used in that original cladding is anyway safe stuff: it’s blue asbestos and brown asbestos that are the nasty materials. But the Great Panic covers all three.)

    Booker makes another point that took my eye: construction regulations, including those about fire risk, is an exclusive “competence” of the EU. Britain has no right to make its own without permission from Brussels. Our own Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2014 emphasised the need to comply with EU directive 2012/27 on “energy efficiency”. Plastic-based claddings rated most highly for energy efficiency.There was financing available under the government’s Green Deal scheme.

    So it seems that the victims were indeed the victims of the goddess Gaia. Another victory in the battle Greens vs Humanity.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/17/grenfell-tower-stands-chilling-tombstone-megalomaniac-dream/

    Read More
  23. Sowhat says:
    @Randal

    Since 2003 there have been a net 250,000 migrants entering England, and virtually all of them are in urban centers, a majority in London.
     
    Presumably you meant to write: "a net 250,000 migrants entering England per annum".

    The figures are for the UK, rather than England, but as a first approximation it seems reasonable to assume that the two are the same, since the vast majority of immigration is to England. The net figure since 2003 is therefore approx. 3 1/4 million.

    Though how useful net migration is as an indicator of the scale of the harm caused by mass immigration is open to question. If a thousand foreigners come here and 500 Brits leave, that's a net change to nature of the population of 1500, not 500. The number of foreigners immigrating every year (official figures) has been around or above half a million every year since 2002.

    Here's one of the best essays I've seen on the treasonous atrocity that has been mass immigration to this country - essentially destroying a vital and probably irretrievable asset that took a millennium to build:

    Unmaking England

    Setting aside the tragedy, this is just another “costs of war” “moment.” All of Neocon and deep state hegemon is a bleeping curse on Western society and a consequence of globalism and Western greed.

    Read More
  24. EH says:
    @Randal

    Since 2003 there have been a net 250,000 migrants entering England, and virtually all of them are in urban centers, a majority in London.
     
    Presumably you meant to write: "a net 250,000 migrants entering England per annum".

    The figures are for the UK, rather than England, but as a first approximation it seems reasonable to assume that the two are the same, since the vast majority of immigration is to England. The net figure since 2003 is therefore approx. 3 1/4 million.

    Though how useful net migration is as an indicator of the scale of the harm caused by mass immigration is open to question. If a thousand foreigners come here and 500 Brits leave, that's a net change to nature of the population of 1500, not 500. The number of foreigners immigrating every year (official figures) has been around or above half a million every year since 2002.

    Here's one of the best essays I've seen on the treasonous atrocity that has been mass immigration to this country - essentially destroying a vital and probably irretrievable asset that took a millennium to build:

    Unmaking England

    Counting both emigrants and immigrants as changes in the population, a rough total of the two over the 25 years of the graph is 20 million. This is an overestimate, as some immigrants subsequently emigrate and some emigres return, but an net influx of something like 7.5 million non-British ethnicity and a net emigration of about 4.5 million of British ethnicity for a total change in ethnic makeup of 12 million is probably a bit low. The population of the UK was 60-65M over this period and the population of England was 48-55M, so roughly a 20% change in population. Many of these are Irish, Polish, or German rather than from more foreign cultures. In 2011 about 7.7M out of 53M in England (14.5%) were non-white and 42.3M or 80% were White British (not Irish, American, or continental European) .

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    Nation-changing numbers, even without accounting for subsequent differential birth rates.

    As reflected in the colossal 5% change in the percentage of UK inhabitant who identified in the census as "white", from 92% in 2001 to 87% in 2011, in just 10 years!

    There is already no going back from the vandalism that has already been inflicted upon the nation, and the process is inherently accelerating, not slowing. So much for the much vaunted "precautionary principle" our elites are so fond of when it's any proposal other than importing foreigners en masse or waging a war that is under consideration.
  25. Randal says:
    @EH
    Counting both emigrants and immigrants as changes in the population, a rough total of the two over the 25 years of the graph is 20 million. This is an overestimate, as some immigrants subsequently emigrate and some emigres return, but an net influx of something like 7.5 million non-British ethnicity and a net emigration of about 4.5 million of British ethnicity for a total change in ethnic makeup of 12 million is probably a bit low. The population of the UK was 60-65M over this period and the population of England was 48-55M, so roughly a 20% change in population. Many of these are Irish, Polish, or German rather than from more foreign cultures. In 2011 about 7.7M out of 53M in England (14.5%) were non-white and 42.3M or 80% were White British (not Irish, American, or continental European) .

    Nation-changing numbers, even without accounting for subsequent differential birth rates.

    As reflected in the colossal 5% change in the percentage of UK inhabitant who identified in the census as “white”, from 92% in 2001 to 87% in 2011, in just 10 years!

    There is already no going back from the vandalism that has already been inflicted upon the nation, and the process is inherently accelerating, not slowing. So much for the much vaunted “precautionary principle” our elites are so fond of when it’s any proposal other than importing foreigners en masse or waging a war that is under consideration.

    Read More
  26. TJ says:

    “Never mentioned is the option of training all residents to fight small domestic fires with fire extinguishers and fire proof blankets. Fire services generally don’t like such advice, but it is within the capabilities of most adults,”

    The fire brigade do not like turning up to find someone else has put out the fire! especially if you ask them if you should have kept it going until they arrived!

    As a sometime volunteer fireman and now chemistry teacher, I find most people are terrified of fire and panic and run away at the sight. To fight fires you need a cool head and to know when it is worth fighting and when you should run away (calling the fire brigade to tell them not to come in the case of some fires. With certain chemical fires, water is that last thing you want!)

    Training people may be a good idea if you have the right people, if not you will put them in danger, and who will insure their actions.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    I once speedily put out a fire in the chem lab at school. We need not dwell on which chump started it.
    , @wrd9
    Residents could have bought fire escape masks to shield themselves from acrid smoke and fumes while escaping.
  27. @dearieme
    One of the early stories in the paper said that the fellow whose fridge was on fire spent some minutes packing his belongings before he warned his neighbour. Very possibly, but the point is that you have to design and manage property to survive that sort of behaviour.

    In a room filling with smoke?

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    I'm reporting a report. Maybe the room full of smoke was his kitchen and he packed his belongings in his bedroom. I don't know, I wasn't there.
  28. Russian blocks of flats are built from concrete without cladding. I have often thought that I would be roasted as there are usually no fire escapes. Steel doors are customary. Some people have escape lines, privately bought. OK at 9 stories. Useless by 21.

    Read More
    • Replies: @wrd9
    Learn how to rappel. Static rappel rope as used in canyoneering can be bought at custom lengths. People can also be lowered with the last person rapping down. You could rap 600 ft.
  29. dearieme says:
    @TJ
    "Never mentioned is the option of training all residents to fight small domestic fires with fire extinguishers and fire proof blankets. Fire services generally don’t like such advice, but it is within the capabilities of most adults,"

    The fire brigade do not like turning up to find someone else has put out the fire! especially if you ask them if you should have kept it going until they arrived!

    As a sometime volunteer fireman and now chemistry teacher, I find most people are terrified of fire and panic and run away at the sight. To fight fires you need a cool head and to know when it is worth fighting and when you should run away (calling the fire brigade to tell them not to come in the case of some fires. With certain chemical fires, water is that last thing you want!)

    Training people may be a good idea if you have the right people, if not you will put them in danger, and who will insure their actions.

    I once speedily put out a fire in the chem lab at school. We need not dwell on which chump started it.

    Read More
  30. @dearieme
    "How can all those clever conscientious people in government ...": the company that ran the tower block is a "Tenant Management Organisation" i.e. the majority on its board consists of council tenants. It doesn't distribute profits but ploughs them back into the properties.

    In other words, it's not an arm of government organisation but a 'community' organisation. So much for that rather herbivorous leftie idea; it might work in terraced houses but it seems to have been a calamitous failure on this tower block.

    We'll see: the inquiry might reveal quite a bit that nobody has yet guessed at.

    http://www.kctmo.org.uk/sub/about-us/22/constitution-and-accounts

    Actually, the majority of its board are not tenants.

    There are two ways to construe the phrase “tenant management.” Yours seems to be that it is tenants who do the managing.

    The other construction of the phrase is that it is the tenants who are being managed.

    It’s a bit like the Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man.” In that story, aliens come to earth and everyone assumes their intentions are benign because they leave behind a book with those three words on its front cover. Unfortunately, the earthlings only find out at the last moment that, in fact, it’s a cook book.

    These properties used to be straight out owned and controlled by the locally elected council. However, as with everywhere else around the UK, central governments of both Labour and Conservative inclination have preferred in the last 20 years to move them from direct council control to vague and hard-to-understand arms length entities.

    Read More
    • Replies: @James Thompson
    I agree it is a grey area, and responsibilities are hard to track down. Residents in other blocks tell me it is very difficult to get proper action on a number of fronts, including for example retraining residents who use gas cylinder barbecues on their balconies, though that particular instance it was eventually sorted out by other residents convincing the person that the practice was unsafe.
    , @dearieme
    " the majority of its board are not tenants." Really? Eight out of fifteen sounds like a majority to me.


    http://www.kctmo.org.uk/sub/about-us/20/the-board

  31. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @PiltdownMan
    A bit of perspective.

    In America, annual deaths to fire are about 10 persons per million of population, which is about twice the rate in Britain.

    In the UK, annual deaths to fire are about 5.5 persons per million of population.

    https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/#tab-2

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/618561/infographic-fire-statistics-england-1516.pdf

    I wonder what % of fires in the U.S. are started by immigrants from warm weather countries unfamiliar with the safe use of space heaters.

    Read More
    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    I wonder what % of fires in the U.S. are started by immigrants from warm weather countries unfamiliar with the safe use of space heaters.
     
    It's impossible to estimate, of course, but as a layman, I speculate that the higher fatality rate in America is because of the near ubiquitous presence of wood-frame housing in a large proportion of the country, as compared to Britain, where, to the casual visitor's eye, many homes seem to be built with brick and mortar or, in the case of older homes, stone. I really don't know much about fire risk, so I cannot definitively say that that's a factor.

    I think the U.K. has a higher proportion of recent immigrants than the United States. Moreover, while a substantial fraction of British homes still don't have central heating, I think almost all municipal building codes in the United States require it. If anything, that would suggest that Britain would has a greater proportion of house fires being started by immigrants who don't know how to handle a space heater safely. But the fatality statistic (admittedly, an aggregated number) points in the opposite direction.

  32. @Tsar Nicholas
    Actually, the majority of its board are not tenants.

    There are two ways to construe the phrase "tenant management." Yours seems to be that it is tenants who do the managing.

    The other construction of the phrase is that it is the tenants who are being managed.

    It's a bit like the Twilight Zone episode, "To Serve Man." In that story, aliens come to earth and everyone assumes their intentions are benign because they leave behind a book with those three words on its front cover. Unfortunately, the earthlings only find out at the last moment that, in fact, it's a cook book.

    These properties used to be straight out owned and controlled by the locally elected council. However, as with everywhere else around the UK, central governments of both Labour and Conservative inclination have preferred in the last 20 years to move them from direct council control to vague and hard-to-understand arms length entities.

    I agree it is a grey area, and responsibilities are hard to track down. Residents in other blocks tell me it is very difficult to get proper action on a number of fronts, including for example retraining residents who use gas cylinder barbecues on their balconies, though that particular instance it was eventually sorted out by other residents convincing the person that the practice was unsafe.

    Read More
  33. dearieme says:
    @Philip Owen
    In a room filling with smoke?

    I’m reporting a report. Maybe the room full of smoke was his kitchen and he packed his belongings in his bedroom. I don’t know, I wasn’t there.

    Read More
  34. dearieme says:
    @Tsar Nicholas
    Actually, the majority of its board are not tenants.

    There are two ways to construe the phrase "tenant management." Yours seems to be that it is tenants who do the managing.

    The other construction of the phrase is that it is the tenants who are being managed.

    It's a bit like the Twilight Zone episode, "To Serve Man." In that story, aliens come to earth and everyone assumes their intentions are benign because they leave behind a book with those three words on its front cover. Unfortunately, the earthlings only find out at the last moment that, in fact, it's a cook book.

    These properties used to be straight out owned and controlled by the locally elected council. However, as with everywhere else around the UK, central governments of both Labour and Conservative inclination have preferred in the last 20 years to move them from direct council control to vague and hard-to-understand arms length entities.

    ” the majority of its board are not tenants.” Really? Eight out of fifteen sounds like a majority to me.

    http://www.kctmo.org.uk/sub/about-us/20/the-board

    Read More
  35. Pericles says:
    @Anonymous
    Another point, although the British building regs, the British Standards Institute, the Building Research Establishment etc etc are getting an awful lot of flak for apparently approving this type of cladding, building regs in the UK are actually very tough especially when high rises and fire resistance are concerned. They always have been ever since a sceptical population - and the London Fire Brigade allowed the construction of buildings of more than eight stories in height back in the post 1945 period.
    The key was that concrete is its own fire proofing, thus obviating sprinkler systems etc. It's noteworthy that after being subject to that fierce heat, the tower structure is still standing.


    Now, doubtless the cladding material was approved on the grounds that its high flash point - aluminium can burn at very high temperatures - would never be attained under any conceivable domestic circumstances. Plus the fact that the external cladding has good 6 inches of concrete between it and the flat interior.

    Suggestive of the use of accelerants, methinks.

    My first thought was that the apartment housed an, er, improvised chemical lab that caught fire.

    Read More
  36. wrd9 says:
    @Philip Owen
    Russian blocks of flats are built from concrete without cladding. I have often thought that I would be roasted as there are usually no fire escapes. Steel doors are customary. Some people have escape lines, privately bought. OK at 9 stories. Useless by 21.

    Learn how to rappel. Static rappel rope as used in canyoneering can be bought at custom lengths. People can also be lowered with the last person rapping down. You could rap 600 ft.

    Read More
  37. wrd9 says:
    @TJ
    "Never mentioned is the option of training all residents to fight small domestic fires with fire extinguishers and fire proof blankets. Fire services generally don’t like such advice, but it is within the capabilities of most adults,"

    The fire brigade do not like turning up to find someone else has put out the fire! especially if you ask them if you should have kept it going until they arrived!

    As a sometime volunteer fireman and now chemistry teacher, I find most people are terrified of fire and panic and run away at the sight. To fight fires you need a cool head and to know when it is worth fighting and when you should run away (calling the fire brigade to tell them not to come in the case of some fires. With certain chemical fires, water is that last thing you want!)

    Training people may be a good idea if you have the right people, if not you will put them in danger, and who will insure their actions.

    Residents could have bought fire escape masks to shield themselves from acrid smoke and fumes while escaping.

    Read More
  38. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    It’s reported today (BBC) that firemen actually attended and put out the fridge blaze, but as they were leaving the building other firemen outside pointed out that the external cladding was burning.

    Certainly doesn’t help if your fridge (or mine) is full of isobutane. Pretty flammable stuff. They should come with a free extinguisher.

    I wonder how many gas cylinders will be recovered from the building (and whether we’ll hear if they are)?

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    I thought that some of the gushing about the firemen was absurd; now we find they are fallible humans like the rest of us. Brave chaps, though.
  39. @Dave Pinsen
    I wonder what % of fires in the U.S. are started by immigrants from warm weather countries unfamiliar with the safe use of space heaters.

    I wonder what % of fires in the U.S. are started by immigrants from warm weather countries unfamiliar with the safe use of space heaters.

    It’s impossible to estimate, of course, but as a layman, I speculate that the higher fatality rate in America is because of the near ubiquitous presence of wood-frame housing in a large proportion of the country, as compared to Britain, where, to the casual visitor’s eye, many homes seem to be built with brick and mortar or, in the case of older homes, stone. I really don’t know much about fire risk, so I cannot definitively say that that’s a factor.

    I think the U.K. has a higher proportion of recent immigrants than the United States. Moreover, while a substantial fraction of British homes still don’t have central heating, I think almost all municipal building codes in the United States require it. If anything, that would suggest that Britain would has a greater proportion of house fires being started by immigrants who don’t know how to handle a space heater safely. But the fatality statistic (admittedly, an aggregated number) points in the opposite direction.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dearieme
    "while a substantial fraction of British homes still don’t have central heating": are you sure?
  40. dearieme says:
    @PiltdownMan

    I wonder what % of fires in the U.S. are started by immigrants from warm weather countries unfamiliar with the safe use of space heaters.
     
    It's impossible to estimate, of course, but as a layman, I speculate that the higher fatality rate in America is because of the near ubiquitous presence of wood-frame housing in a large proportion of the country, as compared to Britain, where, to the casual visitor's eye, many homes seem to be built with brick and mortar or, in the case of older homes, stone. I really don't know much about fire risk, so I cannot definitively say that that's a factor.

    I think the U.K. has a higher proportion of recent immigrants than the United States. Moreover, while a substantial fraction of British homes still don't have central heating, I think almost all municipal building codes in the United States require it. If anything, that would suggest that Britain would has a greater proportion of house fires being started by immigrants who don't know how to handle a space heater safely. But the fatality statistic (admittedly, an aggregated number) points in the opposite direction.

    “while a substantial fraction of British homes still don’t have central heating”: are you sure?

    Read More
    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    No.

    And it turns out that it isn't a substantial fraction. Only 7% of British homes had no heating as of ten years ago, and likely quite a bit lower now. Still, I suppose that's a large absolute number, compared to the US.

    But no, Im not sure anymore. Thanks for picking up on that.
  41. dearieme says:
    @Anon
    It's reported today (BBC) that firemen actually attended and put out the fridge blaze, but as they were leaving the building other firemen outside pointed out that the external cladding was burning.

    Certainly doesn't help if your fridge (or mine) is full of isobutane. Pretty flammable stuff. They should come with a free extinguisher.

    I wonder how many gas cylinders will be recovered from the building (and whether we'll hear if they are)?

    I thought that some of the gushing about the firemen was absurd; now we find they are fallible humans like the rest of us. Brave chaps, though.

    Read More
  42. @dearieme
    "while a substantial fraction of British homes still don’t have central heating": are you sure?

    No.

    And it turns out that it isn’t a substantial fraction. Only 7% of British homes had no heating as of ten years ago, and likely quite a bit lower now. Still, I suppose that’s a large absolute number, compared to the US.

    But no, Im not sure anymore. Thanks for picking up on that.

    Read More
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