Britain: ‘Our warnings fell on deaf ears’, Grenfell Tower Action Group denounces

Local residents say someone needs to be held accountable for the disaster.

In the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the 120 apartments of the Grenfell Tower in London, with at least 17 fatalities, a heartbroken Grenfell Tower Action Group pointed to the repeated, detailed warnings it provided to authorities that the building was a disaster waiting to happen.

It warned about gross negligence by the private company, Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), contracted by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) to manage social housing apartments, such as those at Grenfell Tower.

“Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC,” a June 14 post on the group’s wordpress blog said.

“ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.”

The post provided a list of 10 links to posts published between 2013 and March this year that were posted “to warn the [RBKC], who own this property, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council’s behalf”.

A post from November 20 declared: “It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation...

“We believe that the KCTMO are an evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia who have no business to be charged with the responsibility of looking after the every day management of large scale social housing estates and that their sordid collusion with the RBKC Council is a recipe for a future major disaster.”

Other experts have pointed out the gross negligence behind the tragedy, including installing flammable material and failing to install fire sprinklers. Many other tower blocks across Britain, homes of the poor, are reported to be in similar danger. As many as 4000 tower blocks are said to be without sprinklers.

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