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  #41  
Old 23 June 2017, 07:28 PM
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That's a good point, genyus. I recently read that modern medical researchers believe contemporary medical authorities drastically under-counted the death toll from the Great Smog of London, because they didn't understand enough to recognize the smog as the cause of many deaths that happened over the next few years.
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  #42  
Old 23 June 2017, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
The true death toll could have been in the thousands.
Good point.

I suppose I hope then that this will become the stuff of history lessons, not due to the death count, but due to a change in laws and attitudes.

Can the Tories keep pushing the 'businesses and landlords first!' agenda in light of this tragedy? I suppose it depends now on how the media portrays it and how well they can spin their stance to make it seem like they were in favour of enforcing habitable rental property all along.

Maybe we're on the crux of a historical change. I hope so. I doubt it, though.
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  #43  
Old 26 June 2017, 03:13 PM
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London tower blocks evacuated as 34 buildings fail fire tests.

Clearly, this is not the fault of a single landlord; it's an endemic problem. Made me think of Ronan Point.

Seaboe
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  #44  
Old 26 June 2017, 04:38 PM
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Scotland fixed their regulations about cladding back in 2005 in response to a report from 2000 on a 1999 fire in Irvine:


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40406057

Quote:
It contains the mandatory regulation: "Every building must be designed and constructed in such a way that in the event of an outbreak of fire within the building, or from an external source, the spread of fire on the external walls of the building is inhibited."
The Westminster government had the same opportunity to change regulations in England but didn't...
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  #45  
Old 26 June 2017, 04:49 PM
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The problem's likely not restricted to the UK.

Quote:
The type of siding or "cladding" used on the Grenfell Tower in London — and suspected of feeding the massive fire that killed dozens of residents — is not allowed on the exterior of tall buildings across most of the U.S.

But a few states and the District of Columbia have relaxed their building codes in recent years and have started to permit the material's use.
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  #46  
Old 26 June 2017, 05:41 PM
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I think a difference between US codes and the English (London?) code is that US codes seem to require adequate egress. The Wikipedia page for Ronan Point linked above mentions that codes there are based on theoretical total fire separation between floors, so that people on floors above a fire should be able to stay put. In the US, the requirements are for adequate egress so that people can evacuate in the event of fire.

From what was mentioned, this is both a code issue and a construction issue. It is possible that it is a sound theory to tell people to stay in place with a fire below them, if there is perfect fire separation between floors. But it seems like something that would easily be defeated by even small design changes or mistakes or deliberate corner-cutting in construction. So telling people to shelter in their apartments is indeed what the code dictates, but it only works if there is literally no way for the fire to spread upwards.

I suppose inadequate fireproofing of stairways could cause similar catastrophic results where that is the code, but it seems like that might be more obvious, and even if not, at least there is the redundancy of requiring multiple staircases. Of course, any failure to meet, or inadequate, fire code might have catastrophic results, I guess. But multiple fireproof staircases does seem like a more robust safety requirement.

Last edited by erwins; 26 June 2017 at 05:48 PM.
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  #47  
Old 26 June 2017, 06:10 PM
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The great fire almost certainly killed far more than the single digits often quoted. (It was hot enough to melt steel, iron, and pottery. It would have fully or nearly fully cremated bodies.) But even putting that aside, it was an utterly enormous disaster. It destroyed the housing of the vast majority of residents of the city.
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  #48  
Old 26 June 2017, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
I suppose inadequate fireproofing of stairways could cause similar catastrophic results where that is the code, but it seems like that might be more obvious, and even if not, at least there is the redundancy of requiring multiple staircases. Of course, any failure to meet, or inadequate, fire code might have catastrophic results, I guess. But multiple fireproof staircases does seem like a more robust safety requirement. [bolding mine to highlight the specific part I'm replying to.]
I don't know much about fire codes specifically, but most safety systems are designed around the idea (as much as possible/practical) that it would require multiple failures for results to become catastrophic. IE, all stairwells must have automatic closing fireproof doors so that a fire can't climb up the stairwell. All stairwells must be built of only fireproof materials so a fire that bypasses the fireproof door can't burn up the stairwell. There must be multiple stairwells so that a fire that bypasses the fireproof door and finds flammable material in the stairwell can't block off the only egress routes, etc. The hope is that when human error invalidates one part of the system (propping open doors, storing flammable material in stairwells, etc) the rest of the system will still prevent tragedy.

In the buildings evacuated, is the only issue the cladding? IOW, do they have multiple stairs with fully fireproof doors at each level? I've not been able to find a more detailed report.
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  #49  
Old 26 June 2017, 11:02 PM
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I agree. (That's what my next sentence referred to, as well).

I haven't seen anything specifically about the evacuated buildings, but what I did see suggested that multiple fireproof staircases is not a code requirement.
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  #50  
Old 27 June 2017, 12:58 AM
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The other issue with the separation between floors is even if you can keep the fire contained, what happens if it starts affecting the structural integrity of the floor that it's on? While it's an extreme example, the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 did show what can happen to a large building once a single floor loses integrity.
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  #51  
Old 27 June 2017, 04:35 AM
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I heard on NPR on the way home that the recently evacuated towers had some very large number of missing fire doors, among other issues.

ETA: This source https://www.google.com/amp/www.stand...551.html%3Famp says that, besides the cladding problem, over 1,000 fire doors were missing, some stairways were inaccessible, there were gas pipes that were not properly insulated, and internal walls were breached.

Last edited by erwins; 27 June 2017 at 04:41 AM.
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  #52  
Old 27 June 2017, 05:55 PM
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And that's just the results of inspections in a single borough? 1000 missing fire doors? That seems like a lot. It makes me wonder whether complete fire inspections were actually conducted.
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  #53  
Old 27 June 2017, 06:05 PM
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Makes you wonder if someone was stealing fire doors or something.
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  #54  
Old 27 June 2017, 08:26 PM
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Probably not. They were probably removed for convenience (at least some of them). Is there anyone here who hasn't propped open a fire door at work because it was in the way?

Seaboe
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  #55  
Old 28 June 2017, 01:24 AM
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Yeah, the doors seem like something that may have happened over time, if there were no regular inspections over a long time. Or, there were upgrades scheduled that we're never completed.

It's also possible that it was residents who blocked stairways (I'm not saying it was) by storing things there. Even if that were so, though, it would still be the landlord's responsibility to clear it away, and to replace fire doors, etc.
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  #56  
Old 28 June 2017, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
Probably not. They were probably removed for convenience (at least some of them). Is there anyone here who hasn't propped open a fire door at work because it was in the way?
What do they make fire doors out of anyways? Steel? Heavy wood? You'd be surprised what a good solid hunk of scrap metal can be worth. I mean, even if we're only talking 50 bucks... That's 50 bucks lying around in a hallway! Or maybe there's a black market for them whole, particularly if door sizes are standardized. No doubt they would eventually end up as "100% legitimate" used doors, like the kind of thing you'd be able to pull off of (by which I mean purchase at a very low price) a condemned building set to be demolished. Kind of like buying/selling used office furniture.

You can find a buyer for anything, particularly something as useful as a regulation fire door.
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  #57  
Old 28 June 2017, 05:51 AM
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I suppose people will find a way to defeat anything, but it seems like it might be useful to alarm the fire doors. The elevator at my work, and for that matter, my refrigerator, will start beeping if the doors are kept open too long. Seems like that would be useful in the event someone props open or removes a fire door, since that creates a safety hazard.
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  #58  
Old 28 June 2017, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Grenfell Tower fire: German flats cleared amid cladding fears

An 11-storey block of flats is being evacuated in the German city of Wuppertal because its facade has panels similar to those that caught fire at Grenfell Tower in London.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40420954

Again, the problem is not only the cladding, but missing fire savety in general: the house has no sprinkler system and not enough staircases.
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  #59  
Old 28 June 2017, 03:31 PM
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Am I the only one being reminded of Monty Python by all of this?

I'm also now wondering whether that sketch was inspired by Ronan Point.

Seaboe
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  #60  
Old 24 September 2017, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
The great fire almost certainly killed far more than the single digits often quoted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
The true death toll could have been in the thousands.
What are you basing this on? I don't see why that's the case, and it doesn't fit the facts that I know of.

The fire moved slowly enough that people were able to remove their belongings from their homes - sometimes more than once when the "safe distance" turned out to be not so safe after all - so few people would have been taken by surprise in their beds. People in those days knew that fires were liable to spread, and roused the streets around them. And contrary to what GenYus said, recording of deaths was pretty good in those days. They'd been recording all deaths (including deaths from plague, to track its spread) very carefully for years. The statement that death recording was limited is simply untrue.

I'm sure there might have been a few more deaths of unknown people who nobody missed at the time - obviously it's impossible to be sure that every death was counted - but I very much doubt that "far more" people died without anybody noticing or recording it at the time. There's no way that the true death toll could have been in the thousands without anybody noticing.

Or are you making a point similar to Lainie's that people might have died later from the effects of smoke inhalation or something less direct than burns, and that the cause of death was recorded as unrelated to the fire when these days we would consider them to be fire victims? And again, is there any reason to think that other than speculation?

Sorry, I know this is an old thread but I just looked at it again, and these statements had been vaguely bothering me since the first time round.

Last edited by Richard W; 24 September 2017 at 11:55 AM.
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