‘Nobody on the top three floors survived’: First bodies are removed from tower as 12 are confirmed dead and dozens more are missing

The fire that swept through a 27-storey west London tower block in just 15 minutes after a faulty fridge exploded could be one of the worst in British history amid fears nobody on its top three floors survived.

Twelve people are known to have died after fire engulfed Grenfell Tower in White City after 1am today – but Scotland Yard expects the death toll to rise and there are claims the true number could be ‘more than 50’ or even higher.

Today bodies were strewn through the charred block including in its lobby and undertakers were seen removing the dead in a delicate and treacherous recovery operation set to last several days.
A series of blunders are being blamed for the disaster with residents claiming there were no working fire alarms, no sprinklers and the only staircase leading to safety was blocked.

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  • Drunk_by_Noon

    This is tragically what happens when you are poor, because you live in a socialist society, and you receive government subsidized housing with little choice where, because you live in a socialist society.

    • Clink9

      And also because they live in a socialist society.

      • Drunk_by_Noon

        Yes, living in a socialist society makes you poor, and then depresses your quality of life even further by removing many choices that you would have in a capitalist society. The double mention was intentional, for emphasis. With fewer choices comes lesser quality, because that’s the nature of the universe.

        • Clink9

          We can’t mention it enough to this generation that looks to the gubmint for all answers.

          Hope Trump helps change that, because Canadians live in a socialist society.

  • Gary

    It had nothing to do with islam.

  • Millie_Woods

    I’ve never heard of a ‘faulty fridge’ exploding. In fact I don’t think I’ve even heard of one catching fire.

    • Jaedo Drax

      Mains voltage is 240 there. Damaged insulation on the transformer, overheats, and then ignites material beside the fridge.

      • canminuteman

        Higher voltage equals lower current for the same amount of power. Wire is sized to not overheat at a given current. I don’t know what size of wire is standard in the UK, but I would guess it is the same as ours, and therefore cooler, because of the higher voltage.

        • Jaedo Drax

          you are assuming that it is working within the standard, and everything was set up the way the standards say it should be… lets say that the fridge pulls 3 amps normally, but because of (poor workmanship, rodents, age, or magical pixie damage) you now have a partial short that’s at 14.5 amps of draw, not enough to trip the breaker, but enough that you get a bunch of sparks every time the fridge starts up, all you need is some sort of combustible and then you have your fire. Note this is only speculation, and we should all wait for the full investigation.

          • WalterBannon

            no fridge anywhere on this planet has ever been the cause of an electrical fire, let alone an explosion

          • Drunk_by_Noon

            Actually, it was a fridge fire that killed all those people at that artists collective warehouse in Oakland, California about 6-months ago.
            The fridge caught fire, and then because a lot of people were partying and living in an old warehouse that wasn’t up to fire code, a bunch of them died.
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Oakland_warehouse_fire

        • shasta

          Except for the change in resistance with temperature the current will increase in proportion to the increase in voltage and more power (heat) will need to be dissipated by wire of the same gauge. The amount of current available is limited by the circuit breakers and the resistance and melting point of the wire. The voltage is essentially a fixed constant.

      • mauser 98

        if garbage is piled under,around fridge
        how did insulation get damaged, trans exposed?

        • Jaedo Drax

          shoddy workmanship? poor handling? age? rodents?

          • mauser 98

            or incendiary device

      • Millie_Woods

        Causing the fridge to explode?

      • WalterBannon

        Ah yes, because fridges are made out of explosive/flammable materials

        Fail

  • Jaedo Drax

    Based on what I have seen and read so far, taking into account that it is a possibility, and not confirmed, it appears that the contractor used the wrong kind of insulation on the panels, resulting in a very quick spread. if this is the case, then it may be a situation where the contractor took the spread between the higher end panels that are fire resistant, and the lower end panels that are not. This doesn’t explain the source of the fire, nor how it got to the outside to spread.

    • Watchman

      One report I read said that the cladding was polyurethane and aluminium.
      From a not-unbiased source, the flammability of polyurethane foam is shown here: https://foursevenfive.com/reason-foam-fails-2-unacceptable-fire-hazard/

      It’s probable that the exterior cladding polyurethane foam contained a fire suppressant to make it acceptable for cladding.

      The two other factors that probably led to so many deaths are the lack of a fire alarm system for the building, so that the 1AM fire took hold while most people would have been asleep and unaware. A fire taking hold very fast reduced the chances that people could have informed others of the fire in time for them to escape.

      Some accounts mentioned a ‘blocked exit’. Since there was only one emergency stairway, a failure here would be catastrophic. It’s difficult to know what a ‘blocked exit’ meant: it could have meant that debris or rubbish was being stored in the stairway, it could have meant that the doorway to the outside of there building was blocked, or it is most likely that thick choking smoke made the emergency stairs unusable. Most fire regulations in modern buildings mandate a concrete emergency stairway with fire related doors so that people should be able to shelter inside the stairway even if the exit is blocked during a fire. Open doors will destroy this safe escape by allowing deadly smoke to reach all floors levels above the fire.

      Often people prop open fire doors into stairways to facilitate easy access to other floors – in the event of a fire this can become deadly.

      My guess is that there will be three primary factors found to be the cause of fatalities: speed of speed of the fire, lack of fire alarms’ and an unusable fire stairwell.

      • Jaedo Drax

        again, there is no guarantee that the contractor used the correct product as there is a price difference between regular poly foam and the fire retardant version. And it’s possible that even the vendor may have switched the product without consulting anyone. unfortunately you have to trust that the supply chain is actually providing for you the product they say they are.

  • trespasserswill

    I’m pretty sceptical about the exploding fridge theorem of apartment block deflagration . I don’t reckon that would be incendiary enough, for long enough, to escape from someone’s kitchen, out through a window, into the cladding, and then pre-heat the cladding enough to start this chain reaction.

    Alternatives? Did someone leave a deep fryer switched on? Was someone running a crystal meth lab in his apartment? Lots of very volatile nasty precursor chemicals involved in either case.

    • Watchman

      i’m not as sceptical as you; in a small apartment, the fridge might be surrounded by flammable material and if the window breaks from the heat or is opened to let out the smoke, the flames out the window can set the cladding on fire. Look at how fast uncovered polyurethane insulation catches fire at 3:01 into https://foursevenfive.com/reason-foam-fails-2-unacceptable-fire-hazard/ .

      Once the cladding begins to burn, it will spread rapidly upwards, with the heat breaking windows and causing interiors of apartments to quickly catch fire as well.

      • mauser 98
      • Clink9

        They’ve had bad apartment building fires in Toronto where the place was full of vinyl records or hoarder crap from floor to ceiling.

        These places burned for hours and hours and never really spread to another unit. Smoke in the hallways killed several people trying to get out but they would have lived if they sheltered in place.

        This London place looks like a disaster that was waiting to happen.

        • Watchman

          Yes, I agree that the fire should have been contained to a single unit for a lot longer, or even a single floor for a lot longer. I think the cladding will be a key factor in the spread of the fire, or it might be another connection between floors that helped rapidly speed the fire between floors. Often ventilation ducts or service ducts that contain utility pipes between floors are the way fires spread rapidly. There is a picture in the daily mail showing the main foyer – if this was arson, it is likely this foyer would have been a key target of a fire – but the foyer seems to show no signs of that.

  • Frances

    This being Ramadan, and there being a lot of Muslims living in the building, could it be that this began as a cooking fire and then, perhaps through an open window, spread to flammable cladding.

  • Martin B

    I wonder if a Muslim slumlord is responsible for the fact that there were no working fire alarms, no sprinklers and the only staircase leading to safety was blocked.

    • Frances

      Owned by local council, run by council entity set up to look after all council housing in the area. Suspicion is falling on the exterior cladding installed just a couple of years ago to smarten up the look of the place – may not have been fireproof, and the way installed could provide corridors for fire to move between floors.

      • WalterBannon

        so that means muslims then

        • Frances

          The names and photos of the various heads of council, housing entity, and contractor were posted on-line by some British newspaper and they didn’t appear to be Muslim.

  • WalterBannon

    Hope they were all muslim

  • bob e

    cooking those greasy stove fried foods for Ramabomb .. woooosh .