Tensions mount as residents refuse to leave unsafe Camden tower blocks

Although hundreds have left the Taplow, Bray, Dorney and Burnham blocks in Camden since the council ordered the evacuation on Friday evening, up to 80 people in 20 households are believed to be refusing to leave their homes, including some with young children and others concerned about their pets.

The evacuation comes amid widening worries about the safety of high-rise apartment blocks across the country following the inferno that engulfed Grenfell Tower on June 14, killing at least 79 people.

Investigation has revealed that the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, which has claimed at least 79 lives, was started by a Hotpoint fridge-freezer before spreading to the building's combustible cladding.

People gather in a leisure centre in Swiss Cottage, north London, Saturday June 24, 2017, after the local council evacuated some 650 homes overnight. Inspectors uncovered problems with "gas insulation and door stops", which combined with the presence of flammable cladding meant residents had to leave immediately, council leader Georgia Gould said in a tweet.

Authorities in London evacuated roughly 650 apartments in a high-rise complex overnight, citing fears that the complex bore numerous safety issues that Grenfell Tower did.

Mrs May said: "We are making sure that the authority has the ability to do what is necessary to ensure people have somewhere to stay and that the work is done so that those tower blocks will become safe for them to return to in future".

Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid had earlier said the Government will help local authorities with funding for any action they do take.

She said the fire service "told us they could not guarantee our residents' safety in those blocks".

The Local Government Association said some councils had introduced 24-hour a day warden patrols, to mitigate the risk before cladding is removed.

Areas so far affected include the city of Manchester, Camden, Plymouth, Hounslow, Portsmouth, Barnet and Brent.

Mr Oppong blamed the use of multiple subcontractors for work on council tower blocks for putting fire safety at risk, saying that "in the end, there is no control".

So far, Camden Council has been the only local authority to have asked residents to leave as a precaution.

British police have said they are considering bringing manslaughter charges over the Grenfell fire.

Waiting for a minibus to take her family to a hotel six miles away, Zega Ghebre, 42, said the situation was "unbelievable".

"I have a disabled mother, I have animals in my property - they are not doing anything and no-one is telling us anything - it is ridiculous".

"There were also concerns that some fire doors in the building are not working as they should", Daly continued, "meaning that in the event of a fire it could spread to other parts of the building".

Chalcots was refurbished between 2006 and 2009 by the same firm, Rydon, that oversaw work at Grenfell Tower in 2015-16.

The residents of roughly 800 apartments in London have been evacuated due to fire-safety concerns. "Now I'm being told they can't rehouse me because I've got a dog".

Russ Timpson, a former firefighter and founder of the Tall Buildings Fire Safety Network, said: "It seems ludicrous to me that you're only testing the outer covering and not the insulating material".

Georgina Gould, the leader of Camden Council, said on Sunday that residents still inside the 22-storey buildings on the Chalcots Estate "must leave".

He added: "What can't be acceptable is, when a council knows a building's unsafe, for the council to still allow people to occupy those buildings".

  • Leroy Wright