A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

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A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:29 am

After the Grenfell blaze, the country is bellowing for a scapegoat.

In the wake of a tragedy, the media blames its favourite bêtes noires.

We must act in a way that is proportionate to any actual failure, not to public grief.


Do you remember the tragic story of Jacintha Saldanha? You don’t? It was huge at the time. Jacintha was a nurse at the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to her first child. She got a hoax call from two Australian radio presenters pretending to be the Queen and the Prince of Wales, and put it through to the relevant ward nurse. When the news broke, Jacintha, who had had a history of depression, committed suicide by hanging, leaving two teenage children.

You remember it all now, don’t you? The public outrage, the Twitter mobs, the boycotts of the radio station, the death threats against the two presenters, the repeated attempts to bring them to court. Five years on, I hope you can see that these public campaigns were utterly inappropriate. Had the call not resulted in a suicide, no one would have regarded it as anything more than a juvenile prank. The presenters could not possibly have foreseen that their wheeze would end in such a horrible tragedy. Their lives, like those of Jacintha’s family, were ruined over a freak accident.

No one dared say so at the time, though. That would have meant stepping into the path of a lynch mob. A death changes everything. Different chemicals stir in our brains. Reason gives way to emotion. After such horror, someone has to be at fault. The blame, according to some curious inbuilt emotional scale, must be proportionate to the tragedy.

We are still at that stage in the aftermath of the Grenfell horror. Obviously, we need to find out what went wrong, and assess whether other places are at risk. If there is evidence of criminal negligence, of course that negligence should be punished. But the discussion over the past two days has gone well beyond these things. The country is bellowing for a scapegoat big enough and monstrous enough to bear responsibility for such an outrage. The idea of a tragic accident simply won’t do.

It’s easy to see why. Try reading the story of 12-year-old Jessica Urbano, whose mother got a desperate message on her phone at 1.39 am saying “Mummy! Come and get me!” I defy any sentient adult to look at that little girl’s photograph without choking up. Now multiply that grief by the number of missing people and you can see why we want to find someone to blame: it’s the easiest way to make sense of these abominations.

Like our pre-modern ancestors, we have an innate sense that, for such a horrifying event to have happened, there must have been great wickedness at work. Like them, we disagree as to who was responsible for the wickedness. Usually, though, just as they did, we blame whomever we already happened not to like. Glancing at this morning’s newspapers, I see that the Guardian blames inequality, the Mail blames eco-regulations, the Express blames EU rules and the Mirror blames the Tories. Simon Jenkins, that champion of harmonious and well-proportioned architecture, blames tower-blocks. Owen Jones, my favourite radical, blames racketeering landlords. For all I know, one or more of these villains may indeed be at fault; but, for now, it is mainly guesswork.

Guesswork and, perhaps, a measure of displacement activity. Leftists are raging at Theresa May for meeting emergency workers instead of victims. Rightists are horrified that Jeremy Corbyn, revealing himself in a crisis, has called for the requisitioning of private houses. Both things are easier to do than to try, even for a few seconds, to imagine what Jessica Urbano’s parents are going through.

The media always follow the same course on these occasions. Having initially blamed their favourite bêtes noires, they will move on to the victims and survivors, asking them what should be done. Which brings me to a very hard thing that needs saying. The victims deserve our utmost sympathy as well as our practical help. Please do give, if you haven’t already, to one of the appeals. But bereaved relatives have no particular authority when it comes to finding the correct prescriptions. We should not expect policy ideas from people in shock, and demanding them is not just a form of journalistic grandstanding; it is also deeply unfair to the victims it purports to elevate.

What, then, should we do? We should find out what actually happened and then, as emotions cool, act in a way that is proportionate to any actual failures, not to public grief. In the meantime, please let’s not get into competitive accusations as a way of flaunting our humanity. Unless you were there, this isn’t primarily about you.


https://capx.co/grenfell-tower-a-great-tragedy-is-not-always-proof-of-great-wickedness/

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Lord Foul on Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:33 am

It may not be proof of great wickedness, but its good evidence of dereliction of duty and negligence...

(not to mention greed, nepotism, dodgy dealings and f**k you jack I'm alright)

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:36 am

Lord Foul wrote:It may not be proof of great wickedness, but its good evidence of dereliction of duty and negligence...

(not to mention greed, nepotism, dodgy dealings and f**k you jack I'm alright)

What, then, should we do? We should find out what actually happened and then, as emotions cool, act in a way that is proportionate to any actual failures, not to public grief. In the meantime, please let’s not get into competitive accusations as a way of flaunting our humanity. Unless you were there, this isn’t primarily about you.

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:38 am

Perhaps only those who have lost everything can even begin to understand the trauma of the Grenfell Tower inferno. And even then, the loss that comes with abandonment or flood leaves hope of a living monument or a few soggy memories. But fire is total: the heat and flames burn your whole life to ash – the love letters of youth, photos of mum and gramps, your favourite stripey summer shirt, a thousand CDs and DVDs of laughter and tears, and the hamster. Where could he have got to? No light switches work. The windows are all tinted with black and brown smoke stains. It’s so dank, and everything reeks of bonfire. In the dimness you crawl on your hands and knees over scorched carpets and comb every inch with a spoon to try and find something… anything… a thought, a ring, a hamster. You find his little body beneath a charred sofa, covered in cinders and dust. He managed to escape from his cage – a mini-universe of plastic tunnels and tubes – and thought he’d found shelter from the blaze raging above, but there was no way out after that. The whole room became his cage and then his tomb. I’m so sorry your life was brief. Let me wash your little body under the tap and wrap you up in a white handkerchief. Please remember me in hammy heaven. RIP little one.

All those who once lived in Grenfell Tower are now homeless and destitute; many are bereaved and grieving; others are still searching, hoping. Unidentified bodies are still smouldering, and there’s not much hope. There’s actually no hope. We don’t yet know how many souls perished, but the 17 confirmed is expected to rise to more than 100. It is the worst fire in Britain since the Second World War. And in this pit of suffering there is great anger – understandable, justifiable rage – for Grenfell Tower was jam-packed with the poorest people in Kensington, the richest of London boroughs, with marbled billionaire mansions, manicured gardens and a royal palace at the south end, and the third-world deprivation of densely-packed concrete tower blocks in the north. The rich people have got fire alarms and sprinklers. Apparently Grenfell Tower did not. And the stairwell fire escape was blocked. And the whole tower was clad in a flammable plastic façade.

And all that’s the Tories’ fault.

Apparently.

Yesterday Theresa May visited the scene privately (no media) but was advised for security reasons not to meet with the victims, so she talked and listened to policemen and fireman and councillors and coordinators. Then Jeremy Corbyn descended with an entourage of cameras and press photographers, and this thousand-word picture circled the earth:



Theresa May: cold, aloof, uncaring, nasty, evil.
Jeremy Corbyn: warm, caring, loving, compassionate, Christ-like.
The Labour leader was quick to blame “Tory cuts” for the tragedy. He did so within a few hours of the news unfolding, and his socialist brotherhood and sisterhood soon piled in. They instinctively never miss an opportunity to bash the Tories, but to make political capital out of the prematurely-cremated poor ones of Kensington was an egregious exploitation which fanned the flames of a money-raking media hate-fest against the Tories.

There are hundreds of examples, but consider Jon Snow’s interview on Channel 4 News with singer Lily Allen (why?) last night. Her opening statement was an anti-Tory diatribe:
Well I think there needs to be questions answered about fire regulations and why, you know, a bill was meant to be passed was voted against by 312 Tory Conservative, you know, Conservative MPs, 80 of which I hear are landlords. There has to be a conflict of interest there, um, and that needs to be investigated.

This was her primary concern: to root out political corruption among Conservatives. The Rt Rev’d Pete Broadbent, Bishop of London (acting), was quick to reach the same judgment:





We clearly don’t need to waste £millions on a public inquiry when celebrities, journalists and bishops have already determined cause and guilt. Funny how none of them are asking why the stairwell escape route was blocked. Did Theresa May conspire with Boris one night to cram it with old sofas and stained mattresses so the stinking poor refugees they despise so much could grow fat going up and down 21 floors in a lift so they’d die sooner and decrease the surplus immigrant population? The Royal Borough Council may have made mistakes. They could be culpable. Individual Tories may have acted in self-interest or out of incompetence, as might the company commissioned and paid £millions to clad the tower blocks. It isn’t as though the cladding fire risks weren’t known (see here and here), so why not spend an extra £5,000 and do the job to maximise people’s safety? Or don’t they matter because they’re poor?

There are many pertinent questions of fact and conjecture here, but why leap to exploit this tragedy so precipitously with condemnation of a whole political ideology under the guise of worshipping the God of justice? Sensible reflection and compassion are worth more to God and man than cheap political shots. Isn’t it the primary duty of a bishop to be a focus of unity?

The “small state” isn’t intrinsically evil, and partnership with “big business” is by no means all conspiratorial or detrimental to human flourishing. But, hey, these are right-wing Tory headbangers and scum, and, as we know, Toryism is a work of the Devil. They are all morally delinquent for cutting fire services and police services and slashing health and safety regulations to a bear minimum – especially for the poor. They are all just as wicked as each other – they don’t care about widows and orphans, and so God must judge them, initially through Bishop Pete’s Twitter feed, and then through an imminent general election defeat when Saint Jeremy will be vindicated – he of all mercy, love and compassion.


But even he can’t resurrect hamsters.




http://archbishopcranmer.com/grenfell-tower-tragedy-becomes-anti-tory-hate-fest/

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:43 am

What we need is a bunch of pessimists in charge. That way, they will think of every possible negative outcome which could result from decisions.

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Lord Foul on Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:54 am

no Ragga what we need is responsibility..(as in SOME ONE is responsible) and above all CONSEQUENCES for those who fail in their responsibility

I bet it can easiliy be established that more than one person "didnt think this cladding was a good idea" it was after all banned in germany and the USA

anyone involved in the industry MUST have known the risks, and its no good saying "I was following regualations" that didnt wash at neuremburg and it should not wash in these circumstances.

even if we take the health and safety at work act as a model for where responsibility lies that says in as many words

"YOU are responsible for your OWN health and safety , and that of OTHERS who may be affected by what you do...."


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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:16 am

Lord Foul wrote:no Ragga what we need is responsibility..(as in SOME ONE is responsible) and above all CONSEQUENCES for those who fail in their responsibility

I bet it can easiliy be established that more than one person "didnt think this cladding was a good idea" it was after all banned in germany and the USA

anyone involved in the industry MUST have known the risks, and its no good saying "I was following regualations" that didnt wash at neuremburg and it should not wash in these circumstances.

even if we take the health and safety at work act as a model for where responsibility lies that says in as many words

"YOU are responsible for your OWN health and safety , and that of OTHERS who may be affected by what you do...."


I don't think that works actually. If the regulations were followed, there's no way you can hold those who followed them criminally responsible, even if they should have chosen another material. Who is the responsible for the regulations? Committees probably? The EU? I don't know.


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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Lord Foul on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:30 am

If someone , despite the regulations, put up/enabled the putting up of this cladding, knowing or suspecting that it was dangerous then they are guilty of gross dereliction of duty (the duty to others ) at the least, and gross negligence thereafter....this also applies if given the amount of evidence as to the facts they OUGHT to have known (professional standards).

there is NO getting away from it...

one may not install anything LESS than the regualtions require....but you MAY install something greater than required...these regualtions are minima, and they are NOT prescriptive...how you achieve the requirements is in most cases up to the responsible engineer

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Lord Foul on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:32 am

As to te O/P


oh dear the tory grovel press is playing the victim card...how sweet


mind labour and corbyn are no better, making political capital out of it...


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If at any time in 2016 I have annoyed you, pissed you off or said the wrong thing....Suck it up buttercup, cause 2017 AINT gonna be any different

There are those who's opinion I value, there are those who's opinion I neither value or scorn, and then there are those who's opinion I just ignore as insignificant...I can assure you the latter outnumber the first two combined by a whole order of magnitude


Difficile est meminisse officium paludes siccare , cum de nocte surrexeritis et asinus tuus alligators ....(It's hard to remember that the task is to drain the swamp, when you are up to your arse in alligators)
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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:38 am

Lord Foul wrote:If someone , despite the regulations, put up/enabled the putting up of this cladding, knowing or suspecting that it was dangerous then they are guilty of gross dereliction of duty (the duty to others ) at the least, and gross negligence thereafter....this also applies if given the amount of evidence as to the facts they OUGHT to have known (professional standards).

there is NO getting away from it...

one may not install anything LESS than the regualtions require....but you MAY install something greater than required...these regualtions are minima, and they are NOT prescriptive...how you achieve the requirements is in most cases up to the responsible engineer


What regulations?

You are inventing and making up regulations that we do not have

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:38 am

Lord Foul wrote:As to te O/P


oh dear the tory grovel press is playing the victim card...how sweet


mind labour and corbyn are no better, making political capital out of it...



Oh and look the new found commie looking to blame and be judge and jury before an equiry

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:41 am

Lord Foul wrote:If someone , despite the regulations, put up/enabled the putting up of this cladding, knowing or suspecting that it was dangerous then they are guilty of gross dereliction of duty (the duty to others ) at the least, and gross negligence thereafter....this also applies if given the amount of evidence as to the facts they OUGHT to have known (professional standards).

there is NO getting away from it...

one may not install anything LESS than the regualtions require....but you MAY install something greater than required...these regualtions are minima, and they are NOT prescriptive...how you achieve the requirements is in most cases up to the responsible engineer

Yes, of course someone can go beyond the regulations, but how do you hold them criminally responsible for not doing so? It seems to me that some buildings don't have adequate fire exits, but they conform to the regulations. If people get trapped in a fire, who do you blame for that?

What about the lack of a sprinkler system? Should we blame the people who thought it was a good idea to build all these tower blocks in the first place?

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:44 am

Raggamuffin wrote:
Lord Foul wrote:If someone , despite the regulations, put up/enabled the putting up of this cladding, knowing or suspecting that it was dangerous then they are guilty of gross dereliction of duty (the duty to others ) at the least, and gross negligence thereafter....this also applies if given the amount of evidence as to the facts they OUGHT to have known (professional standards).

there is NO getting away from it...

one may not install anything LESS than the regualtions require....but you MAY install something greater than required...these regualtions are minima, and they are NOT prescriptive...how you achieve the requirements is in most cases up to the responsible engineer

Yes, of course someone can go beyond the regulations, but how do you hold them criminally responsible for not doing so. It seems to me that some buildings don't have adequate fire exits, but they conform to the regulations. If people get trapped in a fire, who do you blame for that?

What about the lack of a sprinkler system? Should we blame the people who thought it was a good idea to build all these tower blocks in the first place?



Excellent points, as how far back are we going to look at blame here?

Clearly these buildings were not built by he same standards of Fire Safety that we have to do.

As a point if we cannot reconstruct these buildings, then they are either pulled down or fitted with better Fire safety equipment like sprinklers for example

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:46 am

It seems to me that even without the huge fire which developed, it's really dodgy to have people living so high up with only one way to escape. What if the fire had been contained on one floor? People still have to go down the stairs past it, and there would be a lot of smoke in the stairwell.

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:49 am

Raggamuffin wrote:It seems to me that even without the huge fire which developed, it's really dodgy to have people living so high up with only one way to escape. What if the fire had been contained on one floor? People still have to go down the stairs past it, and there would be a lot of smoke in the stairwell.


I agree and think they are all unsafe.
If they cannot be reconstructed as stated, then serious consideration has to be taken to pull them down. 
How many this would be , I am unsure of.

I am also understanding that many of those who died, were ones that had rang 999 and were informed to stay in their apartments and use wet towels shoved up against their front doors. The building hand book I believe says the same in the even of a fire. This is standard procedure in the event of the fire, until the Fire services get there. I am not looking to blame the Fire Brigade, they did the best job possible, but did this standard protocol made over the phone, contribute to the greater loss of life here?

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:54 am

2. Some residents started to evacuate through the central fire escape stairwell – the only escape route. But others were told by emergency services over the phone to put towels around doors and stay put until help arrived. This advice has been known to work in buildings that are well compartmentalised, preventing the rapid spread of the fire from floor to floor. At Grenfell Tower, many who received this advice are likely to have died. Some who remained in their flats spoke to friends and family on the phone – the last time many were heard from. 


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-how-fire-spread-graphic-a7792661.html

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Lord Foul on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:54 am

Thorin wrote:
Raggamuffin wrote:
Lord Foul wrote:If someone , despite the regulations, put up/enabled the putting up of this cladding, knowing or suspecting that it was dangerous then they are guilty of gross dereliction of duty (the duty to others ) at the least, and gross negligence thereafter....this also applies if given the amount of evidence as to the facts they OUGHT to have known (professional standards).

there is NO getting away from it...

one may not install anything LESS than the regualtions require....but you MAY install something greater than required...these regualtions are minima, and they are NOT prescriptive...how you achieve the requirements is in most cases up to the responsible engineer

Yes, of course someone can go beyond the regulations, but how do you hold them criminally responsible for not doing so. It seems to me that some buildings don't have adequate fire exits, but they conform to the regulations. If people get trapped in a fire, who do you blame for that?

What about the lack of a sprinkler system? Should we blame the people who thought it was a good idea to build all these tower blocks in the first place?


by showing they they knew or OUGHT TO HAVE KNOWN, that the regulations were not sufficiently robust for this application

SENIOR people in these kinds of jobs (architects, chief planning officers etc ) are subject to a whole different level of culpability, beyond what we mortals are expected to acheive (thats why they get paid so much and have special insurances ) and as such they are liable to a whole range of penalties and sanctions that the guy that put it up would never face...



Excellent points, as how far back are we going to look at blame here?

Clearly these buildings were not built by he same standards of Fire Safety that we have to do.

As a point if we cannot reconstruct these buildings, then they are either pulled down or fitted with better Fire safety equipment like sprinklers for example

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If at any time in 2016 I have annoyed you, pissed you off or said the wrong thing....Suck it up buttercup, cause 2017 AINT gonna be any different

There are those who's opinion I value, there are those who's opinion I neither value or scorn, and then there are those who's opinion I just ignore as insignificant...I can assure you the latter outnumber the first two combined by a whole order of magnitude


Difficile est meminisse officium paludes siccare , cum de nocte surrexeritis et asinus tuus alligators ....(It's hard to remember that the task is to drain the swamp, when you are up to your arse in alligators)
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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:55 am

Thorin wrote:
Raggamuffin wrote:It seems to me that even without the huge fire which developed, it's really dodgy to have people living so high up with only one way to escape. What if the fire had been contained on one floor? People still have to go down the stairs past it, and there would be a lot of smoke in the stairwell.


I agree and think they are all unsafe.
If they cannot be reconstructed as stated, then serious consideration has to be taken to pull them down. 
How many this would be , I am unsure of.

I am also understanding that many of those who died, were ones that had rang 999 and were informed to stay in their apartments and use wet towels shoved up against their front doors. The building hand book I believe says the same in the even of a fire. This is standard procedure in the event of the fire, until the Fire services get there. I am not looking to blame the Fire Brigade, they did the best job possible, but did this standard protocol made over the phone, contribute to the greater loss of life here?

I think there should be a limit to the number of floors allowed. A lot of office blocks are very high too. I once worked in a building which at least had two stairwells, so there was an alternative way out.

People obviously shouldn't use lifts, they should use stairs, and if you have to go down a very long way, it's going to be potentially dangerous even if a fire is contained.

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Lord Foul on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:56 am

Thorin wrote:2. Some residents started to evacuate through the central fire escape stairwell – the only escape route. But others were told by emergency services over the phone to put towels around doors and stay put until help arrived. This advice has been known to work in buildings that are well compartmentalised, preventing the rapid spread of the fire from floor to floor. At Grenfell Tower, many who received this advice are likely to have died. Some who remained in their flats spoke to friends and family on the phone – the last time many were heard from. 


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-how-fire-spread-graphic-a7792661.html


mmm...which means that whilst we wait for full evidence...the suspect is still the cladding, which would circumvent the "compartmentalizing"

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:56 am

Thorin wrote:2. Some residents started to evacuate through the central fire escape stairwell – the only escape route. But others were told by emergency services over the phone to put towels around doors and stay put until help arrived. This advice has been known to work in buildings that are well compartmentalised, preventing the rapid spread of the fire from floor to floor. At Grenfell Tower, many who received this advice are likely to have died. Some who remained in their flats spoke to friends and family on the phone – the last time many were heard from. 


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-how-fire-spread-graphic-a7792661.html

There's a short video around of a lady who was on one of the higher floors, and I think she was getting people to come into her flat away from the smoke in the corridors - presumably because she thought it was safer. She's now missing.

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:57 am

In the middle of the night, while most residents were sleeping, a devastating fire started at Grenfell Tower, a high-rise block of flats in London. At least 17 people have died, but the toll is expected to rise.
A thorough investigation will doubtless uncover the cause. But that will take time and people are clamouring to know now how the firespread so rapidly and why residents found it so difficult to escape.

From an engineering perspective, a number of factors in the design of the 24-storey tower may have contributed to the speed and scale of the blaze.

Most of the current guidelines for high-rise structures across the world contain detailed design requirements for fire safety, such as evacuation routes, compartmentation and structural fire design. But Grenfell Tower was built in 1974. At that time, the rules and regulations were not as clear and well developed as they are now.
The evacuation route is one of the most important design elements when it comes to fire safety. It should allow occupants to escape as quickly as possible, while sheltering them from smoke and flames. Some tall buildings have staircases on the outside to prevent people from getting stuck in the corridors and provide access to fresh air while they escape.

Other options include installing high-power fans inside buildings, to clear the evacuation route of smoke in the event of a fire. This feature is included in the design of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

It’s clear that residents of Grenfell were not happy with the fire safety of the escape route from a blog posted in November 2016 and the design would suggest there was only one set of stairs for evacuation. Investigators will need to determine what evacuation routes were available.

Another key strategy is to include fire compartments to stop the fire spreading quickly. This involves barriers in the building – such as fire-resistant doors and walls – to confine a fire, or at least slow the speed at which it can spread. The design of these compartments vary according to whether the building is intended for residential or commercial use.

Some buildings even include special measures for fires, such as refuge rooms for occupants in the higher storeys, who could have trouble escaping down stairs. There are also active fire protection methods such as sprinklers.

A parliamentary report recommended that sprinkler systems be installed in tower blocks across the UK after another high-rise fire in London in 2009 at Lakanal House in Camberwell, in which six people died. But it’s not clear that these measures were implemented in Grenfell Tower. A local residents action group also claimed that their warnings about a lack of fire safety measures “fell on deaf ears”. The fire risk level of any building also depends on its structural design – that is, the capacity of its materials to resist fire. Different materials receive different fire ratings. For example, steel buildings are normally required to have structural elements such as beams or columns that can stand for one to two hours with the help of fire protection material such as intumescent paint, which swells up when heated to protect the material beneath.

According to reports, the key structural components of Grenfell Tower were mostly made of concrete – a material which rates highly for fire resistance. While other materials can buckle in high temperatures, concrete structures can help to prevent building collapse in case of fire, as well as making it safer to use helicopters – which can dump up to 9842 litres of water at a time – to extinguish a blaze.

There were also reports relating to cladding added as part of an £8.7 million refurbishment in 2016. The material used was primarily aluminium, which is not fire resistant. What’s more, aluminium has high thermal conductivity – so the cladding itself could have heated up very quickly, failing to prevent the fire from travelling through the windows and up the exterior of the block from one storey to another. In truth, most old buildings do not conform to the latest guidelines for fire safety design, so it is imperative to update them by installing sprinklers, fire alarms and extra fire evacuation staircases. While those affected may have to wait for some time before the causes of this tragedy become clear and responsibility is taken, landlords and local councils can act now to help prevent another disaster of this scale from happening again.




https://www.newscientist.com/article/2134814-how-did-london-tower-block-fire-spread-so-fast-and-kill-so-many/

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:57 am

Raggamuffin wrote:
Thorin wrote:2. Some residents started to evacuate through the central fire escape stairwell – the only escape route. But others were told by emergency services over the phone to put towels around doors and stay put until help arrived. This advice has been known to work in buildings that are well compartmentalised, preventing the rapid spread of the fire from floor to floor. At Grenfell Tower, many who received this advice are likely to have died. Some who remained in their flats spoke to friends and family on the phone – the last time many were heard from. 


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-how-fire-spread-graphic-a7792661.html

There's a short video around of a lady who was on one of the higher floors, and I think she was getting people to come into her flat away from the smoke in the corridors - presumably because she thought it was safer. She's now missing.


I think sadly there is a culmination of errors here that has led to such a tragic loss of life Rags

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:58 am

Lord Foul wrote:
Thorin wrote:

by showing they they knew or OUGHT TO HAVE KNOWN, that the regulations were not sufficiently robust for this application

SENIOR people in these kinds of jobs (architects, chief planning officers etc ) are subject to a whole different level of culpability, beyond what we mortals are expected to acheive (thats why they get paid so much and have special insurances ) and as such they are liable to a whole range of penalties and sanctions that the guy that put it up would never face...



Excellent points, as how far back are we going to look at blame here?

Clearly these buildings were not built by he same standards of Fire Safety that we have to do.

As a point if we cannot reconstruct these buildings, then they are either pulled down or fitted with better Fire safety equipment like sprinklers for example

Well what is the point of having regulations in the first place if they're inadequate?

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Lord Foul on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:02 am

Raggamuffin wrote:
Lord Foul wrote:
Thorin wrote:

by showing they they knew or OUGHT TO HAVE KNOWN, that the regulations were not sufficiently robust for this application

SENIOR people in these kinds of jobs (architects, chief planning officers etc ) are subject to a whole different level of culpability, beyond what we mortals are expected to acheive (thats why they get paid so much and have special insurances ) and as such they are liable to a whole range of penalties and sanctions that the guy that put it up would never face...



Excellent points, as how far back are we going to look at blame here?

Clearly these buildings were not built by he same standards of Fire Safety that we have to do.

As a point if we cannot reconstruct these buildings, then they are either pulled down or fitted with better Fire safety equipment like sprinklers for example

Well what is the point of having regulations in the first place if they're inadequate?

Ah ...now then Ragga....thats the $1,000,000 question isnt it....

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:03 am

Lord Foul wrote:
Raggamuffin wrote:

Well what is the point of having regulations in the first place if they're inadequate?

Ah ...now then Ragga....thats the $1,000,000 question isnt it....

Yes, so do we blame the people who set the regulations in the first place?

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Lord Foul on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:10 am

Raggamuffin wrote:
Lord Foul wrote:
Raggamuffin wrote:

Well what is the point of having regulations in the first place if they're inadequate?

Ah ...now then Ragga....thats the $1,000,000 question isnt it....

Yes, so do we blame the people who set the regulations in the first place?

first we need to find out if this panelling was applied STRICTLY in accordance with the regulations.

for instance do the regualations allow for a gap behing the pannel ????


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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:21 am

Lord Foul wrote:
Raggamuffin wrote:

Yes, so do we blame the people who set the regulations in the first place?

first we need to find out if this panelling was applied STRICTLY in accordance with the regulations.

for instance do the regualations allow for a gap behing the pannel ????


I read that there's supposed to be a gap - something to do with rain water?

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by nicko on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:25 am

Have YOU got a Smoke detector in your house/flat? would it have helped if all the flats had one?
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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:27 am

nicko wrote:Have YOU got a Smoke detector in your house/flat?    would it have helped if all the flats had one?

It's hard to say. It sounds as if most tenants were aware of the fire anyway, but there might have been some who were not aware of it.

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Thorin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:28 am

There now is a growing conviction among construction and fire experts that the cladding system fixed to Grenfell Tower to improve the energy efficiency and appearance of the building as part of a £8.6 million refurbishment helped spread the fire.

The Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs - the Government department then presided over by Labour’s John Prescott - had gathered in July 1999 to hear evidence on the use of external cladding in high rise towers, following a fire at a 14-storey block in Irvine, Ayrshire, the previous month, in which a 55-year-old disabled man was killed.

That followed a fire in 1991 at Knowsley Heights in Liverpool, where flames spread from the bottom to the top of the 11-storey block, causing serious damage.

Mr Evans told the committee that if external cladding failed to resist flames from a fire inside the building it could rapidly spread upwards to engulf the entire structure.

He said: “If a fire occurs within a building it leaves the building through a window opening in an external wall, and the strong probability is that the cladding will be involved.”

Mr Evans added: “If the cladding cannot resist the spread of flame across the surface then it will vertically envelop the building; in other words, the fire will spread to the outside of the building and it will go vertically.”

The committee also heard a number of other potential problems which existing safety tests were not taking into account.

Experts told MPs that “the fixtures which attach the cladding to the building may not withstand the fire, risking the detachment of the system from the building and endangering persons in and around the building, including firefighters” and that “plastic materials [ ] used for the cladding, [ ] could melt and form burning droplets which again endanger people below.”

These fears were borne out when the Grenfell Tower blaze took hold in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Large chunks of burning and melted cladding began falling away from the building onto those fleeing from the lower floors and the firefighters desperately trying to tackle the flames.

The select committee suggested that it would be deeply irresponsible to wait until a disaster claimed many lives before introducing improvements to the cladding used and the way it was fixed to tall buildings.

Its report stated: “We do not believe that it should take a serious fire in which many people are killed before all reasonable steps are taken towards minimising the risks.

It added that all external cladding systems should either be “entirely non-combustible”, or “proven through full-scale testing not to pose an unacceptable level of risk in terms of fire spread”.

The select committee urged changes to the British Standards codes for the testing and use of cladding to reflect its disturbing findings.

Since the Grenfell Tower disaster the Government and Kensington and Chelsea council have insisted that all building regulations were up to date and complied with.

Rydon, which won the contract to refurbish the tower, before subcontracting work to several other firms, said it had met “all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards”.

But the tower’s residents say they repeatedly warned about what they said was “a disaster waiting to happen”.

The safer sheets were only £2 a square metre more expensive meaning that for an extra £5,000 the building could have been encased in a material which may have resisted the fire for longer. The cheaper version is banned from use on tall buildings in the US and Germany.

At the same time evidence continues to emerge that the potential danger of external claddings was being ignored in the years that followed the select committee report of 2000.

Building safety experts for David Cameron’s Conservative government warned last year that the drive for greater energy efficiency meant more and more buildings were being wrapped in potentially combustible materials.

In a report published in April 2016 the Building Research Establishment (BRE), which works on fire investigations for the Department of Communities and Local Government, warned of an “increase in the volume of potentially combustible materials being applied” to buildings.

The planning application for the refurbishment stated that fire barriers were due to be inserted between the cladding on each floor to limit the spread of any flames.

But Dr Jim Glocking, technical director at the Fire Protection Association, said its own tests showed that if these barriers were breached by a vent or a pipe, “a chimney effect may quickly develop that will cause the very rapid consumption of the insulation and expansion of the damage area”.

Professor Ed Galea, of Greenwich University said: "At each of the junctions with the floor plate you would have a fire insulation material that is meant to stop the spread of fire up through this gap.

"If that material was not correctly place or an incorrect material then you are going to allow a fire to start within one of these compartments to spread.”

He added: “When you drill a hole to pass a pipe through for renovations then that hole has to be correctly fire stopped to prevent fire and smoke spreading through."

Warnings about the lack of water sprinklers in older high rise building such as Grenfell Towers have also been repeatedly ignored.

In 2004 a report commissioned by Mr Prescott, in his capacity as Deputy Prime Minister, said water sprinklers were probably cost effective for blocks of flats over 11-storeys high.

The following year sprinklers were required to be fitted in all new blocks of flats higher than 18 metres in Scotland and in 2006 Tony Blair’s government issued instructions that sprinklers should be fitted to all new blocks higher than 30 metres, or 11 storeys.

But the regulations were not retrospective, which meant there was no requirement to fit sprinklers to Grenfell Tower when it underwent its refurbishment - something both survivors and safety experts are convinced would have saved dozens of lives on Wednesday morning.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/17/warnings-deathtrap-high-rise-building-cladding-ignored-decades/

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:32 am

I would really question the necessity of this cladding. Sure, it makes a building look nicer, and it also helps to insulate it to make it more energy efficient apparently, but is it really necessary?


Last edited by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:02 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by HoratioTarr on Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:32 pm

The horrible thing is that when fire gets hot enough, everything in it's path just combusts.
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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:10 pm

HoratioTarr wrote:The horrible thing is that when fire gets hot enough, everything in it's path just combusts.

Exactly, which is why an escape route is essential. At least people in houses generally have more than one way to get out, and they can get out faster.

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by sassy on Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:13 pm

Did you know the Council had said it was too expensive to refurbish the fire escape?

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by Raggamuffin on Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:13 pm

sassy wrote:Did you know the Council had said it was too expensive to refurbish the fire escape?

What fire escape?

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by WhoseYourWolfie on Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:28 pm

Thorin wrote:
Lord Foul wrote:If someone , despite the regulations, put up/enabled the putting up of this cladding, knowing or suspecting that it was dangerous then they are guilty of gross dereliction of duty (the duty to others ) at the least, and gross negligence thereafter....this also applies if given the amount of evidence as to the facts they OUGHT to have known (professional standards).

there is NO getting away from it...

one may not install anything LESS than the regualtions require....but you MAY install something greater than required...these regualtions are minima, and they are NOT prescriptive...how you achieve the requirements is in most cases up to the responsible engineer


What regulations?

You are inventing and making up regulations that we do not have


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Britain doesn't have Building Standards regulations and Fire Safety standards, (and workplace safety rules..)  ???

Bullshit,  Didge..

Britain has both.  And it has its fair share of dodgy builders, landlords and town councils,  to boot.

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Re: A great tragedy is not always proof of great wickedness

Post by HoratioTarr on Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:42 pm

Raggamuffin wrote:
HoratioTarr wrote:The horrible thing is that when fire gets hot enough, everything in it's path just combusts.

Exactly, which is why an escape route is essential. At least people in houses generally have more than one way to get out, and they can get out faster.

Every occupant should have had breathing equipment in case of fire. I would have thought that was de rigueur in high rise. If that had been in place many more might have gotten out.
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