27 towers evacuated in England after failure in fire alarm tests

Grenfell Tower the fire is thought to have spread so quickly in part because the building’s cladding acted like a chimney

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English local authorities estimate that 600 high-rise buildings have cladding, and the race is on to establish which ones are covered in the same material that enclosed Grenfell Tower in west London.

On Friday, 800 households were ordered at short notice to evacuate five apartment towers in the London district of Camden while external cladding on the buildings is removed.

It is up to each local authority to decide whether to evacuate residents from blocks which have failed fire tests, a spokesman for the communities and local government department told AFP.

It is suspected this was behind the fire spreading so rapidly and killing at least 79 people.

The cladding on Grenfell tower has been the central point of the investigation into the blaze.

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The political fallout has been huge, with criticisms levelled at everyone from the company that manufactured the cladding used, to the council that managed the tower block, right up to the country's prime minister.

Ferrier Point tower, in Newham - Ferrier Point tower in east London was found to have cladding panels with aluminium composite made by Alucobond. The fact that all of the samples failed the test is sure to raise new questions for regulators and authorities who allowed the use of the high-risk material on buildings across the country. At least one hotel chain is calling in experts to make certain its properties meet safety regulations.

The marshals will also ensure people know and understand the fire safety procedures for their blocks and in particular their routes to fire exits.

However some tenants refused to leave because they said that Camden Council had not offered them suitable temporary accomodation, which included sleeping on airbeds in Swiss Cottage leisure centre.

Around 600 buildings across the country are believed to have similar fire risks, of which at least 20 have been confirmed to have the risky and unauthorised cladding.

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The Metropolitan Police also said cladding attached to the 24-story public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and that they have seized documents from a number of organizations.

As part of the response, ministers announced that tests would be carried out on materials used on hundreds of social housing buildings amid fears their cladding could be similar to that used on Grenfell Tower. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid admitted that every single piece of cladding sent for testing so far has failed to meet standards.

Councils have been told to prioritise checking the towers they are most concerned over.

It said in a statement: "Where cladding fails the test, this will not necessarily mean moving residents from tower blocks".

He said: "The buildings are safe to stay in with all of the existing safety measures still in place". Survivors can not believe that the death toll has not risen.

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