London towers evacuated as cladding fails safety test

Camden Council said it chose to evacuate the buildings on the Chalcots Estate after fire inspectors told officials they couldn't guarantee the safety of residents.

According to the Independent, witnesses at the scene of the 24-storey fire on June14 said a resident told neighbours his fridge had "exploded" while alerting them to the initial blaze, which spread rapidly through the block.

The buildings are in 17 local authorities across the country, including Manchester, Plymouth, Portsmouth and several in London, including Camden, Barnet, Brent and Hounslow.

Over 600 apartments were evacuated overnight after fire inspectors concluded that the buildings, in north London's Camden area, were unsafe because of problematic fire doors, gas pipe insulation, and external cladding similar to that blamed for the rapid spread of a fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower on June 14.

The revised number was lower than the 800 estimated Friday night.

It could take two to four weeks for the four blocks to be made safe, the council said, and Ms Gould added that almost 200 offers of accommodation have been made to displaced residents, most of which have been accepted. Officials first announced the evacuation of one building, then expanded it to five before reducing it to four.

"I've been here for the last 45 minutes or so and they're just trying to take control of the situation", she said. "I don't know what's going to happen, that's the trouble".

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Officials in north London's Camden area have been evacuating hundreds of residents from four public housing blocks on Friday and Saturday after fire inspectors found issues with the buildings' cladding, gas pipe insulation and fire doors.

Residents of the flats where the fire broke out on Turin Street, Bethnal Green have been evacuated.

The ongoing effort to clear the Chalcots Estate in north London comes after the Government revealed all of the 34 high-rises that have so far submitted cladding samples have failed combustibility tests. "We are looking at all health and safety and fire safety offenses, and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower".

McCormack also repeated calls for anyone with information about the fire and all those in the tower at the time to come forward as police continue to comb through the devastated building to try to identify all the victims. At least one hotel chain is calling in experts to make certain its properties meet safety regulations.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan backed Camden Council's decision to evacuate the apartment blocks.

May added that the government is working with local authorities across the country to address fire safety fears about apartment towers.

Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who has been criticized for her slow response to the Grenfell tragedy, said Saturday that the government was supporting Camden officials to ensure residents have somewhere to stay while building work is done.

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