Saturday 17 June 2017


"Danger is nothing new and will claim us all eventually but the more convenient and sedated our lives become, the more injustice we feel when an avoidable tragedy happens, especially one so horrific. " - Dan from London

Hundreds of people lived in the Grenfell Tower building in London, that burned to a shell this week. Most have not been found yet, though the authorities think there are no remaining survivors. The building must be made safe before they can get in to identify the large number of bodies for their grieving relatives and friends. 

I asked our writer on the ground in London, Dan , for his reaction to the blaze:

As a Londoner, I thought I was somewhat familiar with the extent and effects of inequality in the capital. On income. On life expectancy. On temperament. I suppose in the main, I was. Then again, the shock factor of learning how up to twenty of my fellow citizens burned alive this week did indeed bring home, in a sort of dystopian nightmarish fashion, just how terrifying the consequences of being working class can occasionally be. 

This is not to say that nobody of wealth ever suffers or dies. In fact over a hundred people tend to meet their maker in old Blighty every day. Often after experiencing the agony and chilling terror of heart failure or cancer, sometimes for many years. The grim reaper doesn't always discriminate based on age but in this case... in this case it is we who discriminated. We who carelessly built a tower with an excess of flammable materials and a deficit of suitable escape routes. Nobody expects to die like that. Not in 2017. 

Man created fire approximately a million years ago and we still haven't learned how to control it yet.

I hear that our Prime Minister decided not to talk to the victims. It was reported that she had concerns for her safety. You can imagine how well that went down with most of the public. I don't doubt that there's some sense in her decision though. Grieving families are not the stablest of characters and a certain percentage of murders and assaults are committed out of rage or emotional instability. More to the point, I'm sure there are plenty who would rather see anyone else in the world right now than her and perhaps that is the real reason for her decision. Pouring Theresa on the flames is hardly likely to extinguish anything.

I do think she should step down, though. For obvious reasons.

There are three tower blocks a street away from the house I live in. One hopes there'll be some sort of initiative or at least a common-sense check to see how a blaze would spread, if such a disaster happened again. Danger is nothing new and will claim us all eventually but the more convenient and sedated our lives become, the more injustice we feel when an avoidable tragedy happens, especially one so horrific. I wonder whether there are extremist Muslims asserting that Allah has scorched us for our sins. It seems a little harsh to me but then I guess life is. I guess life is.


I hope I don't die in a fire.

Written by Dan.


Running on empty said...

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Blogger KEthical Politics said...
i was so sad to see that tower in flames and hearing the stories of people trying to escape. I can't even imagine what was going through their minds. I read of a woman throwing her baby out the window to try to spare it. It sure makes one think twice about living in a high rise without a fast way out and it brought back memories of the towers burning on 9-11, the trauma lasting even during the recovery. My heart goes out to everyone involved. Thanks Dan for sharing...

16 June 2017 at 08:52 Delete
Blogger Running on empty said...

Yes, Thankyou Dan.
The first victim's name has been released and he was a Syrian refugee.

The fire was allegedly started by a faulty fridge exploding. White goods have become disposable items these days as so many have built in obsolescence of a couple of years or less. In the old days they were usually so well constructed that they could run for decades with occasional maintenance.

Then there were the allegedly flammable panels on the exterior. Why are the governments of the world allowing shonky goods to be made in third world countries and shipped to the first world to be sold for high prices? Can't they get together and say, it's not buyer beware, it's our job to do our jobs and be gatekeepers?

16 June 2017 at 09:27 Delete
Blogger Dan Copping said...
Cath thanks for asking me to write about it. It reminded me to replace the battery in our smoke alarm, which I did this morning.

17 June 2017 at 01:09 Delete
Blogger Fizzfan said...
Teresa May is shameful for her avoidance of going amongst the victims families. I just listened to her slippery avoidance to that question and the one asking if sprinkler systems would become a priority in tower blocks. In other words she fobbed it all off with political rhetoric.

We spend money on wars like there's no tomorrow but on the home grown issues........?

I'm in shock they don't have sprinkler systems. It's 2017!

She's been revealed as nothing more than a cowardly, heartless spin mistress. I'm appalled at how she behaved both during the election when she couldn't be bothered to turn up to a debate, but now after this disaster......just beyond words.

17 June 2017 at 03:30 Delete
Blogger Fizzfan said...
Lilly Allen (singer) lives in the borough of Grenfell and went on air saying the media have been down playing the number of victims. She's heard it's between 100 and 150 from fire fighters etc for days.
She was quickly dropped from taking part in a BBC interview. Well there's a surprise.

I'm so sick of the media and politicians treating people like idiots!
They make matters so much worse when they're not honest. It just adds insult to injury.

May should just resign. How on earth can she recover from this.
I can't believe she is the LEADER of our country. What a shining example of greatness she is and just what too many politicians are made of these days.
She's a bumbling pen pusher who just has a micro chip churning out 'Strong and Stable' on repeat.
She should try following her own tag lines advise!

17 June 2017 at 17:13 Delete

Running on empty said...

I was curious to know where the (Reynobond ) panels were made. From their website

Q: Who fabricates your panels — and how do I contact them?
There are several companies that fabricate our panels in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. Please contact your local Sales Manager for the companies that service your area.

Fizzfan said...

It would have cost the princely sum of £5000 more to have used cladding with fire resistance.
I think I'm going to spontaneously combust!

I laboured under the illusion that building regulations in this country would have rendered the type used illegal in any high rise accommodation.
This is utter madness in this day and age.

Running on empty said...

Deregulation in economic "neo liberalism" , or "small government" as espoused by Trump, and our government in Australia, is designed to facilitate a clear path for businesses, without the pesky irritations of government safety regulations, or the unions that force businesses to observe safety.

Fizzfan said...

It's so utterly depressing that successive Governments have legalised ripping up rule books that were written to safeguard people and prevent tragedy.

I've long been aware that 'people' will cut corners and take the p(ss if you give them half a chance, especially where money is concerned.
That's why sensible regulation must be enforced. It's as simple as that.

"Fire resistant building materials in these high rise flats? Nah, we can save a bit of money if we go for the flammable kind and anyway, why bother, we don't even have to, this stuff is completely legal! I'm just gonna make sure I don't ever live there!"

It's also been revealed there was £10 million made available for the refurbishment. The builders the Council switched to charged 8.6 million. The workmanship and the materials used were complained about by the residents. Of the 1.4 million left over, it would have only cost £205,000 to have installed sprinkler systems and fire resistant cladding.
Apparently that Council stockpile reserves by underfunding on projects so they can give £100 rebates to the people just before elections. In other words buying votes.

Running on empty said...

So, Fizz, would the alleged use of inappropriate panels and sprinklers being disconnected, mean that the council can't claim insurance on the building?

Will it stop the residents claiming insurance on their contents ?

Running on empty said...
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Fizzfan said...

No because the panels used are astonishingly legal! Also there were no sprinklers. They're not deemed necessary in this country.
Britain recommend a 'passive' approach to fire protocol in high rise flats and advise people to stay in their flats when there's a fire.
This would be fine in a situation where the fire were contained due to brilliant fire resistant materials and building standards being high, but clearly when they're reduced to nothing more than the absolute minimum legal requirement, it's a death sentence.
This is what happened here. Also apparently the fire alarm wasn't even audible.
The horrendous speed the fire swept through the building was due to the cladding and shoddy workmanship.
Also the cladding had double the amount of insulation material needed, which is VERY flammable, because it would extend the lifespan of the cladding.
Insurance companies will pay out, can you imagine the bad publicity If they didn't! I'm just wondering how many of these people won't have had insurance though because a lot of them will have been on very tight budgets.
The Government have pledged a 5 million fund to help.
Not sure if the lawyers will go down the road of manslaughter though. If they do, that could be set to rise rather a lot!

Fizzfan said...

There's suggestion now the cladding was actually illegal......could be the building company cutting corners or the building inspectors not doing proper checks?
It'll take a while before we know for sure but I'm pretty sure there's going to be a lot of checks and/or upgrades on this stuff countrywide.

Running on empty said...

The state of NSW in Australia is talking about revamping the regulations since Grenfell.

Fizzfan said...

This is good coming out of tragedy. It's just so gut wrenching it seems to always be after one.
We have the knowledge but always cut corners if given half a chance.

Another terror attack in London. This time against Muslims in retaliation for their spate of recent ones.
It all seems a bit crazy here at the moment:(