A distraught Grenfell Tower resident has reportedly told his neighbours that his faulty fridge started the blaze which led to at least six deaths.
As I’m sure by now you have all seen, the fire rapidly evolved into a complete inferno, engulfing the tower block in flames and thick smoke forcing numerous residents to seek drastic actions in order to save themselves and their loved ones, reports the Mirror.
Samira Lamrani, who lives near the man who claimed his fridge started the fire, said:
I saw a very small fire to begin with and a gentleman at the bottom gesturing saying his refrigerator had exploded and then the fire spread really rapidly.
He was just beside himself. He was just as surprised at how quickly the fire spread as anybody else.
I could hear him saying that he contacted the emergency services immediately and they reassured him everything would be under control within a short period of time, and obviously it wasn’t.
Numerous reports claim people jumped out of their windows, others claim to have seen guests using makeshift parachutes and ropes made out of bedsheets in an attempt to get to safety.
At least 74 people have been taken to five local hospitals and while for the past few hours the cause of the fire was unknown, it appears now that a dodgy fridge started the blaze.
Of the 74 – 20 are in a critical condition.
However possibly the biggest distaster isn’t the fire itself, but the fact this almost definitely could’ve been prevented.
Just a matter of months ago, a group of residents who call themselves the Grenfell Action Group published a blog post criticizing the company that manages the tower block, Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), on their fire safety record.
In one post they wrote:
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 that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.
The Grenfell Action Group believe that the KCTMO narrowly averted a major fire disaster at Grenfell Tower in 2013 when residents experienced a period of terrifying power surges that were subsequently found to have been caused by faulty wiring.
We have blogged many times on the subject of fire safety at Grenfell Tower and we believe that these investigations will become part of damning evidence of the poor safety record of the KCTMO should a fire affect any other of their properties and cause the loss of life that we are predicting.
Our thoughts go out to all those affected by today’s horrific tragedy in Kensington.
Police have told people who are concerned about friends or relatives who may have been in the building to call the Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.