5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding


More than 800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings might be clad in a material similar to the one that exacerbated the deadly Grenfell Tower fire.

Citing the Camden Council, the BBC reported that residents from five towers on the Chalcots estate will be moved for "urgent fire safety works," which are scheduled to take anywhere from three to four weeks. During that time, external thermal cladding from the towers will be removed.

Frank Augstein/AP

On Friday, Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said the council is "absolutely determined to ensure that our residents are safe." The Grenfell Tower fire, she added, "changed everything."

The announcement that the tower blocks would be evacuated came on the same day that the Metropolitan Police announced the fire in Grenfell Tower, which swept quickly through the 24-story building and claimed 79 lives, had started in a refrigerator and freezer. On the same day, the New York Times reported that the tower's cladding and insulation had both failed their respective safety tests.

Matt Dunham/AP

Gould declined to give an estimate on how many residents currently stand to be displaced by the safety renovations, but she asked that those willing to stay with friends or loved ones do so.

“People are on the ground now talking to residents, working with them to move them to the rest center," she said, according to the Guardian. "It is happening immediately.”

On Friday, detectives also announced that manslaughter, health and safety and fire safety charges would be considered in their Grenfell investigation.