Fire in London on the anniversary of Grenfell
19 Jun 2018

Sprinkler system saved highrise on the anniversary of Grenfell - same system may have stopped the disaster a year ago


Rescue workers on the train tracks.Last week, fires broke out in high rise towers in Lewisham and Glasgow on the day of the Grenfell anniversary. Nearly 200 people fled flats in south London, as firefighters tackled another blaze in Gorbals.

Two separate fires broke out in high-rise residential blocks in London and Glasgow on the morning of the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.

According to The Guardian, a sprinkler system, a safety feature that was not installed at Grenfell, was able to suppress the fire. London fire brigade declared the blaze under control at 6.02am.

Eight people were treated for smoke inhalation after a fire in a kitchen in a 14th floor flat at Commercial Court, in the Gorbals area of Glasgow.  A neighbour who was trapped in the flat at the time of the video was later rescued.

Holmes, a 27-year-old rapper who runs a record label, said she shouted at her 92-year-old neighbour to stay in her flat.

“She was waving a sheet trying to alert people to where she was. When I saw her afterwards she was in shock; all the residents are in shock,” she said. “When I found out that today was the anniversary of Grenfell I was shocked even more”, she told media.

Alan Fairbairn, the area manager of the Scottish fire and rescue service, said the blaze was contained within an hour and eight of those rescued were taken to Queen Elizabeth University hospital, Glasgow.

Fraser Stewart, the director of New Gorbals housing association, which runs the block, said about 30 homes were evacuated.

“This ended up being a routine incident but the timing was a hellish coincidence. You get fires up high-rise blocks. This was one of the worst but it was contained,” he said.


No flammable materials on the fasades

“There are different building regulations up here. We don’t have flammable cladding in any social housing.”

Hours earlier, about 180 people fled their homes and nearly 60 firefighters and eight fire engines were sent to tackle the first blaze, which broke out on the 12th floor of the block in Elmira Street, Lewisham, south London at 4.14am.

In Lewisham, residents complained about the lack of fire alarms. Nick Cheuk, a 27-year-old structural engineer who lives on the 19th floor with his girlfriend, said most of the residents ignored a “stay-put” policy in the block when they awoke to news of the fire.

He told the Guardian: “I had the windows open and we didn’t hear any alarms go off. A fellow from the block opposite us was shouting ‘fire’ and that woke me up.


Criticism against badly maintained buildings

Christoph Mayr, a 32-year-old opera singer manager who lives on the 19th floor with his girlfriend, said: “We’d been talking about Grenfell last night. We were thinking about how irresponsibly that building had been maintained and how horrible for the people."

Mayr added: “As we were going down and there were no alarms, we were thinking what else isn’t working? I’m angry with the people who built the block and managing it.”

Mayr called for a review of fire safety in the block: “I definitely want a proper investigation of what was going on and why the alarms didn’t work. They need to revisit what tests and procedures they’ve got in place. I want to be satisfied that something is going to change.”

There were no reports of injuries and the cause of the fire was being investigated.