It was heartbreaking for me to hear that Grenfell Tower, located in the western part of London, claimed at least 70 lives. It is the deadliest fire in the UK since the 20th century. The apartment building is one of those many council buildings throughout London. When I first saw the news, I remember the days I used to live in London. I was a student and looking for a room to rent. I ended up renting a room in a council building similar to Grenfell Tower in London. I was on the 17th floor, and the building did not have any fire safety equipment (at least I did not see any). This explains how terrible the council buildings are, regarding fire safety.
What happened at the West London apartment complex would have been prevented. Residents say they did not hear any fire alarm bells ringing. There were no fire sprinkler systems, nor enough fire escapes. I have to say that we are very fortunate in Metro Vancouver that our fire departments work hard to save lives by continually checking fire safety equipment throughout the cities and forcing any deficiencies to be fixed.
Grenfell Action Group raced concern regarding unsafe living conditions in the tower. A couple of months ago local Councillor Judith Blakeman, raised 19 complaints on behalf residents regarding fire safety. Every single complaint was responded to by the board saying that the fire safety of the tower is satisfying and no further action needs to be taken.
If there were a sprinkler system, most likely the fire would have been put out when it was at inception. As of today, the Grenfell Tower death toll is around 80. Why did we lose all those lives? Because the council did not want to spend money on fire safety?
According to the European Fire Sprinkler Network, Grenfell Tower would have been installed with sprinkler systems by only spending 2% of the £10 million refurbishments. Project and all those lives would have been saved. Now, the UK government will force the fire safety of the buildings and force every single structure to get retrofit fire sprinkler systems. I wish this necessary action was taken before the lives were lost.
References: cnn.com, theguardian.com, washingtonpost.com