The Canadian Guitar Forum banner

1 - 20 of 44 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,861 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
How is this even possible?! It's 2017, it's the heart of a highly-developed city, it's a building constructed and owned by the local government. How the fuck can a 24-story building become almost-engulfed in flames?!

What a tragic abdication of government responsibility. They have video cameras on every corner and massive capture of every key-click of every internet user and police running around scolding and even arresting people for saying things like "don't fund terrorism" and "control immigration", but they can't find the resources to ensure working alarms and sprinkler systems in low-income housing?!!

Very fucked-up.

In Photos: Scenes from the massive London tower fire

Six dead in 'unprecedented' London high-rise fire: 'The flames, I have never seen anything like it'
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,594 Posts
There is no proof yet that alarms and sprinklers weren't working, just claims by some residents. We'll have to wait and see.

Those tower blocks are an abomination and are all over Britain after architects and planners in the '50s, '60s, and '70s decided that they knew better than everyone else and proceeded to build what they referred to as 'cities in the sky'. They were almost all social housing (social housing is far, far more prevalent in Britain than it is here) and many, if not most, turned into complete crapholes with some being torn down only a few decades after being built. Considering the prevalence of these buildings I am surprised there hasn't been a tragic fire like this before now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,159 Posts
You have to wonder why social housing higher than 4 or 5 stories would even exist. Folks who need social housing are often going to have larger families, and a larger proportion are going to have some sort of mobility limitation (which is why they need social housing). So what happens when the elevator is out? Where are the laundry facilities? How do you provide that much hot water? And if some of those who require social housing require it because of psychiatric issues, why in heaven's name would you stuff so many into a building? I don't get it.

The tales of people trying to get their children to safety via the windows were heartbreaking. Accounts vary with respect to the actual height the child was dropped from, but one child was dropped at least 5 storeys and caught by someone on the ground. I hope to God that child has parents to reunite with.

The sifting through the rubble in the aftermath is not going to be pleasant. Few seem to have any idea if there are survivors (who obviously couldn't just grab an elevator down and wave "I'm alright, folks"), or how many victims there might conceivably. The forensic anthropologists usually recruited for things like mass graves will no doubt be brought in to cope with the identification.

It's a sorrow I don't even want to contemplate. Not that a post here matters, but my heart goes out to those folks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
978 Posts
The wives hate their husbands and their husbands don't care
Their children daub slogans to prove they lived there
A giant pipe organ up in the air
You can't live in a home which should not have been built
By the bourgeois clerks who bear no guilt
When the wind hits this building this building it tilts
One day it will surely fall to the ground...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,594 Posts
You have to wonder why social housing higher than 4 or 5 stories would even exist. Folks who need social housing are often going to have larger families, and a larger proportion are going to have some sort of mobility limitation (which is why they need social housing).
You are looking at this from a Canadian perspective and clearly don't understand the prevalence of social housing in Britain.

In the late '70s 42% of Britons lived in social housing. Today that number is around 20% in England (I am not sure about elsewhere). Social housing is so prevalent that the government often has to rent housing from private landlords in order to provide it to those seeking social housing if the local council has no properties available. Also, anyone who is eligible for housing benefit can claim for a private property in any part of the country they wish. Take a look at this story in which a pair of asylum seekers were given a £2 million house because they had complained that the previous house provided to them was in a poor neighborhood:

Somali asylum seeker family given £2m house... after complaining 5-bed London home was 'in poor area' | Daily Mail Online

Former asylum seeker on benefits given £2 million house

Family’s £106,000 a year benefit...just to pay rent

When Cameron was PM he tried to lower the income threshold for those in social housing and people lost their fucking minds. As a result, the threshold stayed at £30,000 per year and £40,000 in London. So you earn £30,000 a year and the government still subsidizes your housing costs?!?! Many people have lifetime tenancies in their council houses. Cameron also planned to end this but I can't remember if he did or not.

Social housing costs the government £20 billion per year in the UK and, if that is like most UK stats, it only covers England and Wales. Just think about that - £20 billion per year!


Where are the laundry facilities?
Where are they in other high rises?


How do you provide that much hot water?
How do they provide it in other high rises?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,159 Posts
A few train trips through Scotland made it very clear how prevalent social housing is in the UK. I watch enough Corrie, too.

As for hot water in high rises, I will make a distinction between 24 storeys of condos and IKEA-sized apartments, occupied by singles and DINKs who eat out a lot, and 24 storeys occupied by families. More need for hot water by those who have to wash children's pissed-up sheets, school uniforms, and cook for 4 or more. How much more, I can't estimate, but certainly more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,594 Posts
A few train trips through Scotland made it very clear how prevalent social housing is in the UK.
Train trips do not tell you which is social housing and which is not. To claim that a train trip can inform you about housing is ridiculous.


I watch enough Corrie, too.
Yeah, because watching a TV soap opera really gives you an insight into British society.


As for hot water in high rises, I will make a distinction between 24 storeys of condos and IKEA-sized apartments, occupied by singles and DINKs who eat out a lot, and 24 storeys occupied by families. More need for hot water by those who have to wash children's pissed-up sheets, school uniforms, and cook for 4 or more. How much more, I can't estimate, but certainly more.

First, do you not think that engineers and architects have figured this out? Second, why are you so fixated on the issue of hot water when it is completely irrelevant?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,159 Posts
My initial point, which you seem to have forgotten or ignored, is that the idea of a 24-storey social housing unit seems supremely impractical, not the least because of the various amenities which intended residents would need, including an easy pathway to the ground and exit.

A great deal of social housing here in Canada is also not really designed for families, and occasionally not even for the very disabled people it is presumed to also serve. Multiplying what one might find in a 4-storey unit to 24 storeys seems counterproductive, and would only multiply tragedies like that in London this morning.

Will I expect this fire to alter the logic underlying what sorts of buildings are deemed optimal or appropriate for social housing? Not really. The seeming eternal conundrum is that situating social housing at the perimeter of a municipality may be inexpensive enough to support larger units and smaller-scale construction, but brings transportation issues with it. Conversely, situating it closer to city center (though not IN city center) can address transportation issue, but the higher cost of land obliges extreme intensification and things like 24-storey buildings. You can't win.

In any event, it doesn't really matter what either of us rail on about. People died and many families lost everything. That's what matters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,594 Posts
My initial point, which you seem to have forgotten or ignored, is that the idea of a 24-storey social housing unit seems supremely impractical, not the least because of the various amenities which intended residents would need, including an easy pathway to the ground and exit.
And yet people have been living int hem for decades.

I don't like them either, but your fixation on some alleged lack of amenities and hot water is rather pointless.


The seeming eternal conundrum is that situating social housing at the perimeter of a municipality may be inexpensive enough to support larger units and smaller-scale construction, but brings transportation issues with it. Conversely, situating it closer to city center (though not IN city center) can address transportation issue, but the higher cost of land obliges extreme intensification and things like 24-storey buildings. You can't win.
They situate them everywhere in Britain, including city centres. Kensington, where this tragic fire took place, is one of the most expensive areas of London and is as central as it gets (it is about 2.5 miles from Charing Cross). And the 24 story buildings have nothing to do with the cost of land, and everything to do with architects and planners in the '50s, '60s, and '70s who thought they knew better than everyone else, including those who were going to live in the social housing they were building. They weren't interested in what people wanted and were convinced that they were being progressive and that they were going to transform society, including the lives of the poor, by building 'cities in the sky' as they called them. It was social engineering, and it failed miserably.

Although post-war urban history wasn't my field I have studied post-war urban history rather extensively, particularly the post-war urban history of London (and currently have four books that deal with it on the go), so I am very familiar with this topic. In addition, when living in London I lived directly across the street from one of the towers that these social engineering architects and planners put up - one that I believe was scheduled for demolition when I was living there and thus didn't last forty years before having to be torn down, despite the residents all having plenty of hot water.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,557 Posts
Will I expect this fire to alter the logic underlying what sorts of buildings are deemed optimal or appropriate for social housing? Not really. .
Correct.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,861 Posts
Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Death toll in the Grenfell fire is likely to rise over 100 people as horrific stories mount about people unaccounted-for.

Aluminum cladding recently installed on the building to reduce its environmental impact appears to have been responsible for accelerating the fire and allowing it to engulf the building.

There is no indication that sprinklers operated in the building, and there are reports that no alarm sounded.

People should be held criminally responsible for this.

Hundreds still missing, death toll could soar following London high-rise fire

London high-rise fire is out, but firefighters now face grisly task of searching for more victims
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,594 Posts
Death toll in the Grenfell fire is likely to rise over 100 people as horrific stories mount about people unaccounted-for.

Aluminum cladding recently installed on the building to reduce its environmental impact appears to have been responsible for accelerating the fire and allowing it to engulf the building.

There is no indication that sprinklers operated in the building, and there are reports that no alarm sounded.

People should be held criminally responsible for this.

Hundreds still missing, death toll could soar following London high-rise fire

London high-rise fire is out, but firefighters now face grisly task of searching for more victims

Corbyn is shooting his mouth off about getting to the bottom of this and speaking out for those who cannot speak out, but he doesn't seem to realize that it was a previous Labour government that changed the rules around building codes and inspections and thus made this tragedy possible (this according to a building inspector I heard interviewed on a London talk radio station yesterday).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,159 Posts
Death toll in the Grenfell fire is likely to rise over 100 people as horrific stories mount about people unaccounted-for.

Aluminum cladding recently installed on the building to reduce its environmental impact appears to have been responsible for accelerating the fire and allowing it to engulf the building.

There is no indication that sprinklers operated in the building, and there are reports that no alarm sounded.

People should be held criminally responsible for this.
Probably. But if the Algoma Mall collapse is any sort of indication of what to expect, responsibility will be so broadly distributed over a great many cracks to slip through, that unless one specific factor can be identified, likely no one will be held criminally responsible.

One brief snippet I saw on the news this morning demonstrated the polyurethane insulation used in the cladding being set alight. Cheap, a good insulator, and fire retardant don't seem to go hand-in-hand in this instance.

One of the more unsettling aspects of the aftermath is that the upper floors are not stable enough for unit-to-unit searches. They will have to be reinforced to permit more detailed search. That means folks will likely have to wait a while longer before the final death toll is tallied.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,861 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Death toll from the Grenfell fire now up to 30, with more expected. Some victims were essentially cremated in the fire, making it impossible to identify them and condemning their families and friends to uncertainty and no-closure forever. Parents who threw kids out windows probably gone with no trace of them remaining for their kids.

Death toll in London highrise fire rises to 30; fire may have destroyed DNA evidence - 680 NEWS

<snip> responsibility will be so broadly distributed over a great many cracks to slip through, that unless one specific factor can be identified, likely no one will be held criminally responsible.<snip>
No doubt the municipal council bureaucrats who were certainly responsible for this building and almost-certainly responsible for its immolation will try to see your assertion true. (You of course would know very well how bureaucratic fogging is done, as do I.) However from time to time the requirement for justice does overwhelm the most-determined bureaucratic fogging. Let's hope that this horrific abject failure and the scope of its tragic results will be one of those times.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,159 Posts
I have no idea how representative it is of the UK, or whether it is simply a Scottish or Glasgow thing, but I was taken aback at how frequently I came upon fire doors when I was in Glasgow. Our hotel had numerous fire doors on each floor. Since we were across the street from Strathclyde University, I popped over to stroll around several departments. The hallways there consisted of 3 or 4 office doors and then another fire door with a sign that explicitly said "Fire door. Leave closed.". The omnipresence of fire doors was something I had never seen here, in well over 2 dozen universities, and certainly never in any hotels.

But clearly the attention to fire prevention I saw in those buildings is not reflective of the attention to fire prevention in all buildings across the UK.

I am as sceptical of there being accountability for this as you are, though a little more benevolent, and sad rather than angry, in my interpretation of how and why it will occur. There will likely be a cavalcade of people at multiple levels having passed the buck in the history of the building. I mean, presumably there were fire-safety inspections over the years to determine if it was up to code. So why weren't there functioning sprinklers? And if there WAS a sprinkler system, how was it so easily disabled by however the fire started? I don't say that to blame the fire department or inspectors, but rather to illustrate that such catastrophes tend to occur because things slipped through a great many cracks, many of them occurring despite well-intentioned and honest efforts. The cladding appears to have been partly responsible for the speed with which the fire spread (and one rarely sees buildings of that, or any, size so thoroughly scorched on the entire outside unless they are wooden), yet we keep hearing that it met all safety specs. So how were the safety specs established and how many times was it inspected and found to meet the specs?

As the body count increases, and the investigation continues, I suspect there will be much shame to spread around amongst those who thought "Well that's good enough, innit?" during the entire history of the building, from the lowest tradespeople to the highest bureaucrats.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,557 Posts
"It had to be a cladding fire."

British fire protection specialist Arnold Tarling isn't wondering what caused the fire to spread so quickly in London's Grenfell Tower early Wednesday. He's certain the recently added exterior cladding system is to blame.

Q: How do you feel?

To be honest I burst into tears. This tragedy is totally avoidable. I would say it is wicked that these people have had to die. When I got a phone call from another expert at quarter to four in the morning, I went downstairs turned on the television and burst into tears. My wife came down thinking my mother had died.

It is terrible what has happened. It needn't have happened. And the people responsible are either the politicians or their advisers. It need never have happened.

Q: What do you expect will happen?

Well, on the scale of what has happened in previous years where we've had inquests where it has been said we should have sprinklers in respective buildings and fitted retrospectively, what do I expect of government? Nothing! Nothing's been done. Nothing's been acted upon.

Time and again they said lessons will be learned. If I hear another politician say lessons will be learnt, I will scream. It is just soundbites. It's just meaningless, just saying lessons will be learned when they've never been learned from the past.

Why Grenfell Tower became a raging, wind tunnel of a fire

This guy says it like it is. "Soundbites" is a very good description of what almost always happens.
 
1 - 20 of 44 Posts
Top