Grenfell Tower landlord admits that concerns were raised about building being a fire hazard

24-storey high Grenfell Tower Engulfed in fire in West LondonNewsweek

Before a huge fire gutted the building leaving many dead, residents living in the 24-storey high Grenfell Tower in north Kensington, London, had on numerous occasions expressed concern about the "dangerous living conditions" in their apartment block.

They warned that "only a catastrophic event" would expose "the ineptitude and incompetence" of their landlord, and also said that there was no fire safety training.

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The Grenfell Action Group (GAC) posted a new blog after the fire on 14 June, commenting "ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time."

The residents first warned their landlord, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), that the building was a serious fire risk in January 2016, nearly 18 months before the tower block was engulfed by flames. The KCTMO admitted that concerns had been raised in the past and that these concerns would form part of the investigation.

In the early hours of 14 June, a huge fire ripped through Grenfell Tower as most of the resident slept. More than 200 firefighters are still attending the smouldering shell of the block of flats, where hundreds of people once lived.

The London Fire Brigade says that at least six people have died. More than 50 people are being treated in hospital, London Ambulance said.

Grenfell Tower underwent a two-year £10m refurbishment which was completed in July 2016. Work included new exterior cladding and the installation of a communal heating system.

During development works, the GAC said that a large rubbish build-up posed a serious fire hazard.

"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," a blog post dated 24 January 2016 read.

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"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!" the post continued.

The GAC claimed that the KCTMO had a poor safety record, pointing out that there had been a big fire at another Kensington block of flats managed by the organisation in 2015. Firefighters rescued more than 50 people from Adair Tower in north Kensington after a fire broke out in a third-floor flat.

After the fire, the London Fire Brigade issued the KCTMO with an enforcement order, compelling them to improve the fire safety in the escape staircases and install self closing devices on the tower block's front doors.

Residents living in Grenfell Tower had also complained about the lack of fire safety training. The GAC said that residents were informed to remain in their flats in the event of a fire by a temporary notice in the lift and a brief bulletin in a newsletter.

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The KCTMO offered their "heartfelt condolences" to everyone affected by the devastating fire.

"It is too early to speculate what caused the fire and contributed to its spread. We will co-operate fully with all the relevant authorities in order to ascertain the cause of this tragedy," a statement from the organisation read.

"We are aware that concerns have been raised historically by residents. We always take all concerns seriously and these will form part of our forthcoming investigations," the KCTMO said.

Residents living in Grenfell Tower repeatedly warned their landlord that the building was a serious fire risk
Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

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