JUST ONE in 50 socially owned tower blocks are fully fitted with sprinklers, an investigation published yesterday has revealed.
And seven in 10 blocks have only one staircase for evacuation, according to the shock results of a BBC Breakfast probe covering half of Britain’s council and housing association-owned towers.
After the disaster at Grenfell Tower, which did not have sprinklers, ministers said they might retrofit sprinklers to blocks depending on the findings of the public inquiry into the fire.
It was made compulsory in England in 2007 for sprinklers to be fitted to all new high rises over 30m tall.
London Fire Brigade commissioner Dany Cotton said: “I support retrofitting. For me, where you can save one life, then it’s worth doing.”
The Grenfell inquiry will look at the fire’s causes, the adequacy of regulations, the building’s refurbishment last year and the actions of the public authorities before and after the incident. The first hearing is being held today and an initial report is due by Easter.
Grenfell survivor Edward Daffarn, who escaped from the 16th floor, criticised the council for its gentrification of the area, saying: “North Kensington was like a gold mine, only they didn’t have to dig for the gold.
“All they had to do was to marginalise the people who were living here, and that’s what they were doing.”
The head of the body responsible for running Grenfell Tower is still receiving his full salary despite quitting after the disaster.
Robert Black continues to draw a six-figure salary from the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, supposedly for helping it respond to multiple investigations.
Justice4Grenfell campaign co-ordinator Yvette Williams said the continued salary was “ludicrous and outrageous.”