AFTER a huge fire tore through Grenfell Tower killing at least 80 people, attention turned to the firm that looks after the housing stock in Kensington and Chelsea.
A public inquiry has now underway to look into what caused the devastating blaze after it emerged cheap cladding had been used on the 24-storey building. We reveal all
Getty Images A huge fire tore through a West London tower block containing 120 flats on the morning of June 14, 2017
When was Grenfell Tower built?
Grenfell Tower was built in 1974 by Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council.
Last year it underwent a multi-million pound redevelopment that was completed in May 2017.
It emerged that the fire was intensified by low-cost cladding that had been added to the building as part of the recent renovation work.
KCTMO saved £293,000 by downgrading the material used to clad the tower, according to leaked emails seen by The Times.
Price outlines and minutes of meeting seen by the newspaper also appear to show that cost-cutting was a priority for the housing association who led the £8.6 million refit on 24-storey tower.
KCTMO sent an urgent email to project management consultants, Artelia UK, which read: “We need good costs for Cllr Feilding-Mellen and the planner tomorrow at 8.45am!”
Rock Feilding-Mellen, deputy leader of the council, was overseeing the refurbishment.
The email suggested ways to bring the price down of the cladding such as using aluminium panels rather than zinc which would save £293,368.
Zinc panels would have been fireproof, whereas the aluminium panels that were eventually used contained a flammable polyethylene core.
What date did the blaze start?
A large fire broke our just after 1am on the morning of Wednesday June 14 2017.
It is believed to have started on the fourth floor, before it quickly spread.
A Hotpoint fridge freezer FF175BP, in a fourth floor flat, was blamed for causing the deadly blaze.
At least 350 people were thought to be inside when the blaze began and some were still trapped hours later.
Desperate people trapped inside the large building were heard screaming for help and horrified witnesses said they could see people waving sheets out of the windows, withsome jumping from the building.
The blaze was not brought under control until 1.14am on Thursday June 15.
Will Grenfell be demolished?
The charred remains of the Grenfell Tower could be torn down as early as the end of next year.
Steps to pull down the burnt-out building, which was the scene of a horrific blaze that claimed the lives of 71 people, are began two months after the blaze.
It was coated in protective wrap from mid-August to help forensic investigations continue, as well as to ease the building’s eventual deconstruction.
Who owns Grenfell Tower?
The housing block in West London is managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, on behalf of the council.
The 24-storey tower underwent a multi-million pound renovation project which was completed last year – but had no sprinkler system installed and residents raised safety concerns.
This included the installation of cladding – an item which some have blamed for the quick spreading of the fire in the early hours of June 14.
The Prime Minister launched an urgent investigation into the disaster.
Reuters At least 80 people died in the devastating fire
Who are KCTMO?
The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation was formed in 1996.
It manages 9,459 properties for the council, according to its business plan, and is the largest tenant management organisation in England.
Of these 73 per cent are tenant-occupied and 27 per cent leasehold properties.
It is run by a board of eight residents, four Council-appointed members and three independent members.
It has seen several refurbishment projects on large blocks in recent years – including a £7.2million refurbishment on Trellick Tower in North Kensington.
Accounts name the Chief Executive as Robert Black, Financial Director as Barbara Matthews, Director of Operations as Sacha Jevans and Head of HR Yvonna Birch.
Black has since stepped down as he said he wanted to focus on the public inquiry into the fire.
Kensington and Chelsea council has been heavily criticised since the disaster, with some residents accusing authorities of being slow to offer aid and housing to victims.
What about the other fire risks?
On July 2, a fire risk assessor was accused of conspiring with council bosses to conceal vital safety failings at Grenfell Tower.
Housing chiefs paid Carl Stokes £250,000 to inspect the block.
A Mail on Sunday investigation alleged that Mr Stokes conspired with KCTMO so that the London Fire Brigade and residents in the block would be kept in the dark about the fire safety failings within the tower.
In a Fire Risk Assessment for Grenfell Tower, Mr Stokes told KCTMO in November 2012 about a loophole.
He wrote: “You do not have to give a copy of your fire risk assessment to anybody, not even the fire authority, if you do give them a copy this could be used against you at a later date.”
PA:Press Association The 24-storey tower underwent a multi-million pound renovation project which was completed last year
Mr Stokes also told KCTMO that it is important to avoid giving the report to the London Fire Brigade because they have “the power to undertake an audit of the fire risk assessment to determine if it is suitable and sufficient or not”.
As a result of an audit like this, KCTMO could be forced to make “additional fire safety measures”, Mr Stokes warned.
Mr Stokes wrote in the report: “The fire extinguisher in the basement boiler room, the lift motor room, the ground-floor electrical room plus other areas were out of date, according to the contractor’s label on the extinguishers.
“Some located in the roof level areas [of Grenfell Tower] had ‘condemned’ written on them in large black writing, with a last test date of 2009 or 2010.
“This seems to indicate that monthly occupier inspects are not being carried out.”
Are they part of the Grenfell investigation?
Around 250 staff are working on the Met’s two-pronged investigation to identify victims and alleged criminal activity including manslaughter.
Detectives are looking at more than 60 organisations involved in the construction, refurbishment and management of the building in North Kensington, London.
It isn’t clear if KCTMO are one of the organisations being looked at.
Experts who recovered remains after the 9/11 attack in New York are helping police investigators combing through debris from the Grenfell Tower fire.
A public enquiry has also been launched.
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