London tower blocks in 17 areas fail fire safety tests

Residents of more than 700 flats in north London's Chalcots Estate housing blocks have spent the night in emergency accommodation after being evacuated over fire safety fears following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Britain has been rocked in recent days by a fire which killed at least 79 people when it engulfed a 24-storey building in west London on June 14, trapping residents in their beds as they slept.

A fire patrol vehicle is parked outside Burnham block, part of the Chalcots Estate in the borough of Camden, north London, Saturday June 24, 2017, after the local council evacuated some 650 homes overnight.

Prime Minister Theresa May says "the government is supporting local authorities" testing their apartment blocks.

Burnham residential tower on the Chalcots Estate.

All of the buildings for which external cladding samples were so far submitted failed combustibility tests, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said. "You can't play Russian roulette with people's safety", he told Sky News.

Officials had been working through the night to support residents who obeyed the instruction to leave on Friday - some finding shelter with friends and family, and others sleeping on air mattresses in a local hall.

The local authority's leader Georgia Gould said her staff would continue to knock on residents' doors and issue more letters to those who remain, telling them they "must leave" on Sunday morning.

At least 10 dead as two powerful explosions strike Parachinar
Pakistani officials, however, have played down the presence of the Islamic State, also referred to as I.S., in the country. Some of the seriously wounded were airlifted to Peshwar, the largest city in Pakistan's northwest region, the army said.

"By remaining in the blocks these residents risk delaying the work that is required and that we are undertaking to make these homes safe".

"We are told they can do 100 a day - that should be the number they are meeting", he said. "Nowhere to go" In north London, thousands of residents were forced on Friday to evacuate their homes at very short notice. Some residents said they learned about the evacuation from the television news hours before officials came knocking on doors.

Community facilities will be open today and a homework centre at the UCL Academy next door to Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre will be open from 10:00-16:00, with teachers present to offer support on site. Look, you've got to err on the side of caution.

Several local councils said they were removing cladding from the facades of buildings that had failed the tests. Attention has focused on the 24-story tower's external cladding material, which has been blamed for the rapid spread of that blaze.

Gould, the Camden council's leader, said it would take up to four weeks to fix the blocks that were evacuated. She added that the Government would ensure councils take "immediate action" over the failed tests, adding: "Absolutely our first priority is people's safety".

Dozens of residents have refused to evacuate, with both Camden Council and the London Fire Brigade advising in the strongest possible terms for those still inside their buildings to take up temporary accommodation.

The cladding has since failed all safety checks and prompted a nationwide review of the materials used on everything from hospitals to hotels and apartment blocks. The board of the management organization includes representatives of the local government.

Work has also begun on installing a temporary boiler after the one that served Grenfell Tower and surrounding properties was completely destroyed. "But the council must and will act to protect our residents", Gould said.

Related news