British Conservatives threaten Grenfell Tower blogger for fire disaster warning

This video from Britain says about itself:

14 June 2017

LONDON fire action group posted warning on Grenfell Tower

An action group predicted the Grenfell Tower fire was an accident waiting to happen four years ago but claim their warnings fell on deaf ears.

The fire service confirmed this morning there had been a number of fatalities in the horrific blaze which was reported just after 1am today thought to have been caused by an exploding fridge.

It engulfed the 27-storey building where 600 people were said to be living in 120 rooms …

Grenfell Action Group said: ‘Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities.

‘We have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in [Conservative oparty ruled] Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC).

‘All our warnings fell on deaf ears. This was inevitable and just a matter of time.’

The group had been posting about their concerns of tower block‘s safety regularly calling for it to be torn down before it went up in flames in the early hours of this morning in White City.

Grenfell Tower is council-owned but the management of the building is down to an independent company – the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).

Construction on the flats started in 1972 and was finished in 1974 when it was under complete council control, but in 1996, the KCTMO was handed the contract to manage the tower block.

A council spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘The Council still owns the properties and retains responsibility for strategic housing policies and homeless people.

‘The relationship between the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) and the Council is governed by a management agreement, which covers all areas of the landlord business.

‘Whilst the KCTMO still enjoys a close working relationship with the Council, it is a completely separate company.’

Robert Black is the company’s Chief Executive Officer and he took office in 2009 having previously worked as Executive Director of Service at Circle Anglia for five years where he was responsible for services for 45,000 homes across seven companies including asset management.

Barbara Matthews is the Executive Director of Financial Services and ICT, Yvonne Birch is the Executive Director of People and Performance and Sacha Jevans is the Executive Director of Operations.

They are the four most senior members of KCTMO and according to papers seen by MailOnline, they earned £650,000 between them last year.

All four have been contacted individually by MailOnline and the company has been asked to make a comment, but nobody was available to do so.

Chillingly, back in November, while addressing the … Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), the group wrote: ‘It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.’

The action group believe the KCTMO have no business to be charged with the responsibility of looking after the every day management of large scale social housing estates.

‘Unfortunately, the Grenfell Action Group have reached the conclusion that only an incident that results in serious loss of life of KCTMO residents will allow the external scrutiny to occur that will shine a light on the practices that characterise the malign governance of this non-functioning organisation.’

The tower block underwent a £10million refurbishment which was completed in May last year, and improvements included the installation of insulated exterior cladding, new double glazed windows and a new communal heating system.

The two year project, which was designed and delivered by KCTMO in partnership with Rydon Construction, was a complex one as it took place with all 120 flats occupied throughout the time period.

Rydon turns over a massive £270million by carrying out development, maintenance and management throughout England.

Talking of the refurbishment, Robert Black, KCTMO’s Chief Executive, said: ‘We’re delighted to have worked in partnership with the Council to deliver this major regeneration of the tower. …’

More than one resident has claimed that there was no central fire alarm system for the tower block – or it had failed – and only smoke alarms in individual flats were working.


Blogger gagged by [Conservative] council after warning about Grenfell Tower fire threat

14 June, 2017 16:09

A blogger who warned the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council of the dangers lurking in Grenfell Tower was threatened by local officials for writing about problems in the building.

Home to over 600 people, Grenfell Tower, in the Lancaster West estate, west London, was engulfed in flames in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The true scale of the tragedy is only gradually becoming clear.

As early as 2013, a man named Francis O’Connor, a member of the Grenfell Action Group (GAG), urged councillors and landlord Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization (KCTMO) to address the fire safety risks that new works on the building would cause.

GAG had several times tried to warn the council and the landlord that the building of a [private] school and gym next to the estate would restrict emergency services’ access, including firefighting vehicles.

But a leaked letter reveals that officials at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea tried to silence the campaigners, sending a lawyer to threaten O’Connor.

“I am instructed that you previously posted blogs that have in general been critical of everything that takes place at Lancaster West in relation to the Kensington Academy Leisure Centre and investment on the estate,” solicitor Vimal Sarna wrote to O’Connor in July 2013.

It then instructs the group to delete the blog – an order the group did not follow.

In 2016, an article on the blog chillingly predicts that only a tragedy would bring serious attention to the tower’s problems.

“It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders,” the post reads.

“It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block or similar high density residential property is the most likely reason that those who wield power at the KCTMO will be found out and brought to justice!”

But the scandal seems to reach beyond local council remit, as the Mirror reports that former Housing Minister Brandon Lewis “sat on” information about the several fire risks in buildings such as Grenfell Tower.

According to the newspaper, Lewis did not take action on safety irregularities on tower blocks over 30 meters tall because it could “discourage building.” Instead he shrugged off suggestions that sprinklers should be installed in the block. Other ministers are believed to have also known about the damning evidence.

Grenwell Tower number of people killed now 17 and rising.

17 ARE DEAD IN LONDON APARTMENT FIRE And emergency services now estimate the death toll could rise much higher as they search the building for bodies. Authorities believe the death toll would have been worse had Muslims who lived in the building not been up for Ramadan when the fire began and alerted neighbors to the blaze. And here’s why the inferno has exposed the apartment’s controversial history. [HuffPost]


25 thoughts on “British Conservatives threaten Grenfell Tower blogger for fire disaster warning

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  2. Dear friends,

    The full horror of the fire at the Grenfell Tower is yet to unfold but we do know that there has been fatalities, serious injuries and hundreds of people are left destitute and in despair.

    Once again our emergency services have been called upon to display the selflessness and heroism we are sadly becoming all too accustomed to. Unite will be sending its solidarity to our colleague unions to express our very deep thanks for all that they do to in the name of public service.

    But we also need your help. We need you to donate to the fund to support the residents of Grenfell Tower.

    Unite has members who live in Grenfell Tower. We are doing our utmost to locate them, and to offer every support to them and their neighbours. Our community members are already mobilising collections for essentials such as clothing, food and toiletries.

    Clearly there are very many questions to be asked about the cause of last night’s blaze, and when the time is appropriate this union will be redoubling its efforts to put decent, safe social housing back on the political agenda. There are thousands of such towers around the UK. We must ensure that they pose no risk to human life.

    But for today we need to rally around our fellow members and this devastated community.

    Can your branch make a donation to help those affected by this horror through these very dark times?

    If so, please donate to

    London Fire

    Account 33201148

    Sort code 60 83 01

    With very many thanks,

    Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite the union

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