CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

The word is that some people in Camden blocks had removed fire doors

05 October, 2017

• IN Camden Council’s latest free magazine we learn of steps being taken to keep homes safe, especially from fire hazard.

A main photograph shows an expert fitting a “new enhanced fire door”, while unpublished word around the borough has it that some flat-holders had removed fire doors. That reminds us that the risk can be reduced by co-operative behaviour among dwellers.

On the facing page we can read that there will be “more regular checks to ensure that [communal areas] are not blocked by clutter”. Had they ever been so cluttered? Another disclosure that all dwellers pay a part in safe occupation of such blocks.

Many other welcome steps are being taken but I do not see that water sprays are to be installed (they should really be called water drenches as a mere spray is not effective, though the drench is perhaps less welcomed by some residents but offers the needed collective security).

There is news that Camden are “working with an independent specialist company” to carry out enhanced fire risk assessments.

Good, and this illustrates that there is a role for certain tasks to be contracted out to independent – perhaps even profit-making – companies, a relationship which will come under heavy criticism now the Grenfell Tower inquiry has been opened.

Finally there is no recognition that the spread of fires internally in tower blocks may be caused and prevented in several different ways – including attention to installation and uses of the ducts for service pipes and waste disposal – as well as from the spread of fires externally along the outer cladding. And it may not be essential to renew this if the interior conditions are made fire safer.

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