As we approach the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire it is now evident that there is a national cladding and fire safety crisis. On 9 September last year the 62 victims of the Worcester Park fire, including 17 children, saw their flats burnt to the ground. The entire block of 23 flats was completely destroyed and over 120 firefighters attended to put out the blaze at Richmond House. The fire ripped through the 4-storey building within minutes. The cause of this fire, as with Grenfell tower, rests firmly with the use of dangerous flammable materials, poor and negligent construction and inadequate regulation. 3 years after Grenfell Tower and 9 months after the Worcester Park fire, these causes are all too familiar and have revealed a national problem within Britain’s homes. The Communities select committee heard on 18 May 2020 that there were 1700 high-risk buildings, many like that destroyed in the Worcester Park fire.
The residents of Worcester Park stand with the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in the hope that lessons can be learned and the horrific construction resulting from these bad practices rectified.
Sally Bevan, a resident at Richmond House, who lost her flat said:
We were painfully aware of the horror of Grenfell Tower when it happened. What we did not know, until our homes were destroyed by fire, was that the underlying problems and abuse within the construction industry was widespread. I lost everything that night and today my 62 neighbours and I are all in temporary accommodation. We have been left with nothing and we’re trying to rebuild our lives.
Another resident who lost her flat, Abi, added:
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Sadly we learnt from Grenfell Tower not to stay put in a building but to run from the fire. It meant that nobody lost their lives at the Worcester Park fire. But what has gone wrong with Britain’s house building that such dangerous buildings and materials are allowed onto our homes? The Grenfell Tower fire was not a single problem; it revealed a national problem. 3 years on from Grenfell and 9 months after the Worcester Park fire we are still picking up the pieces. We remember with sadness the fire but fear the lessons are still not being learned.