CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Chalcots estate tower block partly evacuated as fire brigade called to ‘smell of smoke’

Emergency measure comes as residents return after four weeks away from home

21 July, 2017 — By William McLennan

Homes on the Chalcots estate were only reoccupied this week after a four-week evacuation 

ONE of the Chalcots tower blocks recently signed off as safe for residents to return to was evacuated tonight (Friday) as fire engines raced to answer an emergency call.

A number or residents in Dorney, one of the five high rise blocks along Adelaide Road, were told to leave their homes late this evening, after the smell of smoke was reported to the fire brigade. It is believed to have been a false alarm.

Around 3,000 people were evacuated from their homes at a moment’s notice on June 23 and have spent the past four weeks in emergency accommodation, with the majority either having returned home in recent days or planning to move back this weekend. They were told this week that the emergency fire safety works had been completed to make the blocks habitable once again.

It is believed one of the fire marshals, who were installed on each floor of the towers round the clock after it was discovered the buildings were wrapped in flammable cladding, had smelt an electrical burning smell and dialled 999.

It is unknown how many people were evacuated at around 10pm, but residents reported “old people outside in the rain in their pyjamas”.

Four fire engines attended and gave the all clear for residents to return to their flats
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Diane McCarogher, who lives in the tower, said the fire wardens “started running around with portable sirens”.

She added: “At first my neighbours and I thought it was kids. Then the security guy comes round the corner and says there is a fire and we should get out.”

She said that her daughter, who was outside the front of the building, saw “old people out in the rain in their pyjamas”.

Ms McCarogher, who has breathing difficulties, was unable to leave the building immediately when instructed and said she was “not confident about living here with health issues and animals,” adding: “Maybe time to move.”

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