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Grenfell Tower fire: All council-owned housing blocks in Tower Hamlets have had fire safety checks

PUBLISHED: 14:56 16 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:56 16 June 2017

The Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 30 lives. Picture: AP Matt Dunham

The Grenfell Tower fire has claimed at least 30 lives. Picture: AP Matt Dunham

Mischa Saag

Hundreds of council-owned housing blocks in Tower Hamlets have had fire risk assessments carried out in the last nine months, families have been assured.

Smoke rises after the Grenfell Tower fire on Wednesday. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Dunham Smoke rises after the Grenfell Tower fire on Wednesday. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Letters are being sent to tenants and leaseholders in all 900 blocks of flats in the borough after an urgent meeting mayor John Biggs had with senior housing and safety officials, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze tragedy in Ladbroke Grove.

The blaze at the 24-storey tower on Wednesday morning has claimed 30 lives so far but the death toll is sadly expected to rise.

“The council is looking closely at what lessons we can learn from Grenfell Tower,” the mayor said.

“Safety is our top priority. All 900 blocks run by Tower Hamlets Homes have been assessed for fire risk in the last nine months and we are addressing any issues raised to make sure fire safety is a priority.”

More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze. Picture: Rick Findler/PA Wire More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze. Picture: Rick Findler/PA Wire

The council is also urging other providers like housing associations to check high rise blocks which have had cladding added “as this is inevitably a very topical and immediate concern”.

The mayor added: “I strongly urge all residents to keep escape routes clear and fire doors closed which could make the difference in a fire.”

It is also to re-examine their safety advice, in the light of families at Grenfell Tower being told to remain in their homes in the event of fire.

Most Tower Hamlets council flats have smoke detectors and many are fitted with new fire-rated front doors.

Tenants are being offered smoke alarms if they don’t have one, if they call 020-7364 5015.

More ‘fire suppressing’ front doors are also being replaced later this year.

Fresh guidelines are being issued to tenants such as making sure they have a working smoke alarm, keeping balconies free from clutter, leaving no rubbish or bikes in communal areas or obstructing escape routes, making sure they know their nearest exit, not smoking in common areas of the block and always fully extinguishing cigarettes in the home.

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