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Sixty high-rise buildings fail safety tests after London fire - government

25 June 2017

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said if residents had not left their properties after being visited again by officials on Saturday, "it will become a matter for the fire service".

Camden council representatives talk as they help residents as they are evacuated from the Burnham residential tower block on the Chalcots Estate, in the borough of Camden, north London, Friday, June 23, 2017.

Baffled and bewildered, residents of five London tower blocks dragged their belongings through the streets in the middle of the night, having been told to pack up and leave due to fire safety concerns in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Twenty seven high-rise residential towers in 15 council areas in England have failed fire cladding safety tests, the government said on Saturday.

Hotel rooms are being arranged for those residents who are not able to stay with family or friends during the repairs, which are expected to take up to four weeks.

Hundreds of residents hastily packed their bags and sought emergency shelter, with many angry and confused about the chaotic situation.

The apartments were evacuated after fire inspectors concluded that the buildings were unsafe because of problematic fire

Despite being urged to leave by officials, around 20 households had refused to vacate their homes, in Taplow, Burnham, Bray and Dorney, by Saturday evening.

Cladding installed on the outside of Grenfell Tower previous year, for both insulation and aesthetic purposes, is suspected to have aided the rapid and "unprecedented" spread of the blaze, trapping dozens of residents inside.

United Kingdom communities secretary Sajid Javid said today that as many as 34 buildings in 17 local council areas in the country were so far affected and tests in other areas are ongoing.

The testing of potentially combustible cladding "is running around the clock" and interim safety measures were being put in place for all affected buildings, he added.

So far, Camden Council has been the only local authority known to have asked residents to leave as a precaution. The apartments were evacuated overnight after fi.

"We want to work with residents who are yet to evacuate and strongly encourage them to leave their homes and fix up temporary accommodation".

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The council said it could take two to four weeks for the four blocks to be made safe. "Grenfell changed everything, and when told our blocks were unsafe to remain in, we acted".

"This is now a nationwide threat and the prime minister needs to get a grip", Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

The revised number was lower than the 800 estimated Friday night.

Many residents complained of a lack of information and confusion.

Mr Craggs added: "Customer safety is of paramount importance to us, so we acted immediately, and I can confirm that all of these panels have now been removed from these buildings".

She said: "We are all scared, we are disrupted, we don't know how we are going to cope, cook, wash or anything at the moment".

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"Regular communication with our customers is incredibly important, and we are carrying out face-to-face reassurance with all the residents living in these buildings, as part of this exercise".

Police investigating the cause of the deadly 24-storey Grenfell Tower blaze have said that the fire started in a fridge but spread rapidly due to the use of external cladding on the building, trapping residents in their beds as they slept.

Detectives are considering manslaughter charges as part of their investigation into the disaster, a spokesperson from the Metropolitan Police said.

Four of the five towers at Chalcots Estate were evacuated following news that they had similar cladding to the material which exacerbated the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington earlier this month, killing at least 79 people.

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Sixty high-rise buildings fail safety tests after London fire - government