1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    No reports of casualties yet, but it looks very worrisome.

    Already the conspiracysphere is moving in. All tower fires elicit jokes from 9/11 Truthers, and there are people quite to label it as probably terrorist attack. However the early signs point to a possible situation like the Plasco building fire in Iran, and the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland - long standing problems with building safety and management. Pointed at by the Grenfell Action Group blog.

    This post in particular, labled as Nov 20, 2016, seems unusually clear in its predictions

    So clear in fact, that I'd have some suspicion that it was fake. I've been unable to find evidence that the "kctmo-playing-with-fire" page actually existed before Jun 14 (London date/time). Google's cache of the page is current.
    https://webcache.googleusercontent....playing-with-fire/+&cd=13&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us (http://archive.is/AbGc7)

    But are there older records? [Edit: yes]
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
    • Informative Informative x 2
  2. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    More realistic reports from eyewitnesses, claim that the fire quickly spread from the decorative plastic facade...and up the side(s) of the building.
    This can be seen in the early stages of the fire. In this particular video, the camera occasionally changes it's exposure setting, and you can get a clearer look at the areas on fire (without the fire "glare" @ 00:43).
    Plus all the melting and falling facade debris.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. CeruleanBlu

    CeruleanBlu Member

    I did a view source on the page, took the photo (grenfellactiongroup.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/fire.jpg?w=240) and searched Google for the specific file name. The photo and the "Playing With Fire" quote shows in at least two previous caches, one on May 17, 2017 19:15:12 GMT:


    And again Jun 10, 2017 23:20:06 GMT:

    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    There are a couple of interesting comments in The Architects Journal
    (* The Royal Institute of British Architects)

    So the structure apparently has a reinforced concrete frame, not steel, so 9-11 parallels don't match up. Also suspicion is already falling on the newly fitted external cladding in the spread of the fire as seen in a number of recent high rise fires such as the 2015 'The Address' fire in Dubai.

    It also appears that the buildings managers Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, who manger the property on behalf of the local authority has a troubled history going back to at least 2009
    I'm watching the BBC reports now.

    Latest reports from the London Fire Brigade say there is no danger of collapse, but the fire is still not under control and live pictures still show fire on multiple upper floors.

    The local authority is saying there were 'around 360 to 400' residents in the building and many are unaccounted for.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  5. Graham2001

    Graham2001 Active Member

    I was pointed to a discussion on the discussion board called Skyscraper City about the type of aluminum composite cladding that was used in the buildings refurbishment, apparently it is not fire retardant, and may have been responsible for the spread of the fire around the outside of the building.

    The thread itself started after the Marina Torch fire in Dubai.


    Sadly many of the articles the thread links to are behind paywalls. One that was not was published by the Australian The Age Newspaper:


    Edit: Further to the above, is this report into a series of building fires in China where the exterior cladding spread the fire rapidly.

    http://www.stoparsonuk.org/documents/resources/Fire Safety of Exterior Wall Claddings.pdf

    It will be interesting to see what the fire investigation determines.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    I see no reason to suggest it could be fake. The GAG has posted on this topic several times, as can be seen from the archives at the Wayback Machine. Just one example:


    And the specific "Playing With Fire" entry you mention is there on the index of the archive captured on May 21:



    It's a horrible incident: the fire started before 1am and there was still a thick plume of smoke rising as I arrived into London at 10am today. Knowing what living conditions are like in such blocks I fear the death toll could be into the dozens, if not triple figures. I hope I am wrong about that, but overcrowding and unofficial subletting are a fact of life in these places, so there may well have been more people in there than the official figures suggest. :(
    • Informative Informative x 1
  7. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks. I looked last night, but did not find the actual posts. There was only sporadic coverage on the Wayback machine, likely because it was a small blog that get very little traffic. The posts just struck me as unusually prescient.

    I suppose that's some kind of fallacy on my part though. Building that burn catastrophically like this and the others I mentioned are going to be amongst the worst of the worst in terms of fire safety. Because of this it's quite likely that there would have been advance warnings, often years in advance.

    It's sad that it takes major incidents to prompt changes in safety practices and building construction. It's probably unavoidable to some degree though.
  8. TEEJ

    TEEJ Senior Member

    Tower resident Mahad Egal gave an interview on Sky News here in the UK. It appears to have been a fridge fire in apartment 16 on the fourth flour. Egal was woken by his neighbour claiming that his apartment was on fire due to an exploding fridge.



    Beko as mentioned in the article have the following on their website.



    Mahad Egal gave an other interview to Sky News where he recounted the neighbour and fridge fire. Video at following link.



    • Informative Informative x 3
  9. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    This is an unfortunate consequence of the environmental regulations banning CFCs. Fridges used to use Freon, a CFC which is totally non-flammable (indeed its only permitted use these days is in fire extinguishing systems!).
    • Informative Informative x 3
  10. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    Not good, but it should not have spread beyond the flat where the fire started and up the building. I live in a high rise and in the 20 years I've lived here we have had three fires. In all cases the fire was contained to the flat where the fire broke out and apart from some minor smoke damage, and water damage in the flats below (due to the activities of the fire fighters) other flats have not been effected. This is because most high rises in the UK are built using a Compartmentation system (explained in detail here). In theory this means a fire should be contained to one flat for a minimum of 60 minutes, which is normally ample time for fire fighters to arrive and bring the blaze under control.

    However in the case of the Grenfell Tower it appears the whole block went up in less than 30 minutes. Once again, as in a number of other recent high rise fires, it appears that the spread was up the outside of the building via the external cladding. This type of fire spread has been a concern for a few years now, a quick google of 'aluminium cladding fire risk' throws up a number of articles expressing concern from the general media and the business, technical and construction communities dating back to at least 2014. (example), and going by the latest interviews of fire fighters and investigators on the BBC today it appear that the newly fitted cladding is going to be a major point of focus for the investigation.

    There are other points of concern as well. If reports of the buildings fire alarm system being either faulty or not working are true, then this another point of concern, as are the fact that the fire spreading up the building exterior could then enter other flats, presumably via the windows. (If they are anything like the windows in my place, cheap plastic frames installed for cheapness rather than quality)

    I only hope that some good comes fro this tragedy and steps are taken to make sure this never happens again.

    And finally I am very moved at the response of not only the emergency services, but the reaction of the British people. Folks of every faith, creed and class from all over the UK have responded to help. A strong testimony to the true spirit of humanity in a time of crisis.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. Graham2001

    Graham2001 Active Member

    I have located a transcript of an Australian current affairs show episode (The 7:30 Report, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)), this relates to the Lacrosse Docklands fire that I posted details of earlier and claims that the same cladding (Alcuobest) was used on a large number of buildings in Australia.

    It is stated in the transcript that Alcuobest cladding took around a minute (55 seconds to be specific.) to catch fire when it was tested by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) following the Lacrosse Docklands fire. It of course remains to be proved just what type of cladding was used on the building.


    The segment of the program that the above transcript covers was placed on YouTube by Fire Protection Australia. The testing of the cladding by the CSIRO is mentioned at 1:53 - 2:12 and is immediately followed by an animation of the fire spread created by the Melbourne Fire Brigade, this animation finishes at 2:27 in the linked video.

    I have located two official reports into the Lacrosse Docklands Fire, the first is from the City of Melbourne (Victoria) and outlines the cause of the fire (A cigarettte butt) and contributing factors (Residents using balconies as storage spaces.) But did not include details of the CSIRO testing, it is still worthwhile to look at for the insight it provides into the issues relating to high rise fires.


    I have also found the Post Incident report for that fire, which was prepared by the Melbourne Fire Brigade, this gives details of the CSIRO testing and shows that the cladding was so flammable they had to abandon testing due to concerns that the test equipment would be damaged. The CSIRO report is included in this document as well as a number of related reports.

    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017
    • Informative Informative x 1
  12. David Fraser

    David Fraser Senior Member

    I have seen a couple of FB posts in my feed that have drawn comparisons straight to the WTC. Thankfully these were shot down in flames immediately (no pun intended). There is a great deal of anger felt over this and rightly so. I dont want to get on my Socialist high horse, especially since we don't know the full details, but there is suspicion of cost and corner cutting for the building. Given it was social housing and Kensington is the richest borough in the country I am not surprised over the anger.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    Agreed, I saw the locals storming the local council offices this afternoon, and a couple of protests kicking off in other areas. I can understand why. I live on an estate of high rises and there are lot of worries people here as well. We've been told that our newly fitted cladding is the rock fibre fire resistant stuff, but the local housing people are holding a meeting of tenants next week to answer questions.
  14. derwoodii

    derwoodii Senior Member

    In Melbourne OZ the discovery of the flammable cladding has unearthed a blame game between regulators, building designers, fire insurance owners and others as they found the $$ cost to retro fit out the such large amount of flammable cladding is beyond economic practical. If fire starts and weather condition right ( sadly as in London ) the exterior walls will burn..


    • Informative Informative x 2
  15. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The Grozny City fire in Chechnya was also the result of flammable cladding.

    However in that case the fire was largely limited to the exterior of the building. There's a discussion of that incident here:

    This thread on Skyscraper City contains many more examples:

    Quite an amazing number of cases. Perhaps the thing that has prevented more action being taken to stop these panels is that the fires all happened in different countries, and so only received local consideration. People in the UK paid no attention to what was found in Australia two years ago:

    • Informative Informative x 3
  16. David Fraser

    David Fraser Senior Member

    Anecdotally I recall an interview with a fire safety officer who said an issue could have been that the cladding was set away from the wall which caused it to act as a chimney for the flames. He was steadfast in his belief that the advice given to residents to stay in their homes as the fire should have been compartmentalised was the best at the time.
  17. Graham2001

    Graham2001 Active Member

    Exactly, I saw the same on a BBC news report. I tried searching on YouTube but could not find the exact report I had seen, but I did notice a lot of agit-prop/conspiracy channels are moving in the direction of 'cover up', 'social cleansing', 'deliberately lit' claims.

    I can understand where all of said claims may be coming from, especially the last one, when I heard it was an exploding fridge, my first reaction was incredulity, but given the reports of electrical issues in the building it does not seem that much of a surprise.
  18. TEEJ

    TEEJ Senior Member



    • Like Like x 1
  19. Graham2001

    Graham2001 Active Member

    The Torch apartment tower in Dubai that suffered a cladding fire in 2015 has suffered another such fire, this article from The Mirror is typical of the coverage to date:

    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

  21. Birkenhead

    Birkenhead New Member

  22. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    Just skimmed through it. It appears to be testing the combustibility of the panels, rather than spread of fire. The test was terminated after 300 seconds or so, (and the wind speed in the test at 2mps was lower than on the day of the disaster). I'm no expert but I suspect the test was to examine ignition and initial spread rather than full combustion.
  23. Graham2001

    Graham2001 Active Member

    I found this video of a Las Vegas hotel fire from 2008, in this case firefighters managed to get the blaze under control, the coverage of the fire is in the first 12 minutes or so of the video, what is clear from the footage is that the external foam decoration/cladding spread the fire quite rapidly, and that the firefighters took personal risks to get it under control. The weather report that forms part of the video points out that had the winds been stronger then the fire might have taken much longer to get under control than the hour or so that it did.

    • Informative Informative x 1
  24. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The Greenfell tower comes up occasionally as a tower that "should" have fallen. So a comparison with WTC7 might be useful. Here's the Greenfell layout.


    Here's a construction photo:

    The main load bearing supports are steel reinforced concrete columns.

    The building is approximately square, and 22.5m (74 feet) to a side. So here it is to scale with WTC7 and One Meridian Plaza.


    Would the central core of the Greenfell tower also count as a supporting column though? The other two building you get a good sense of the structure of beams and girders connecting to the columns. But in Greenfell is it just the exterior columns and then concret walls and slabs inside? What other than the exterior columns is load bearing?
    • Informative Informative x 1
  25. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    Most, if not all UK council high rises are reinforced concrete beam construction. and although the details differ from area to area (depending what council architect designed building) they all follow the same construction method/ The central core, with the lift shafts, stairwells and utility cores provide a solid central support and the outer columns, also steel reinforced concrete, do the rest. Whats more because they are designed as fire cells to stop the spread of fire internally. (which didnt help in the case of Grenfell as the fire spread externally via the cladding) The interior walls are also very often reinforced concrete and these also help brace the structure internally.

    The result is pretty strong and stable structures that are often described as 'a bugger the bring down' by demolition crews.