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  • Man passes a wall of graffiti near the Grenfell Tower which was destroyed in a fire in London.

    Man passes a wall of graffiti near the Grenfell Tower which was destroyed in a fire in London. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 July 2017

Reports from fire safety inspections detail numerous maintenance violations dating back to 2012.

The fire risk consultant who inspected Grenfell Tower reportedly told the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization (KCTMO) to “bury” the fire safety assessment.

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Carl Stokes, who was contracted by the property management company as their fire risk assessor, advised KCTMO of their right to withhold the report from London Fire Brigade, a damning statement which detailed the building’s many safety hazards.

According to Mail on Sunday, the company’s consultant stated that delivering the report of fire risks could potentially require KCTMO to undergo further, expensive “additional fire safety measures”.

Failure to maintain or inspect escape staircases, fire extinguishers, emergency escape lighting were a few violations documented in the report delivered to KCTMO in November 2012.

“The fire extinguisher in the basement boiler room, the lift motor room, the ground-floor electrical room plus other areas were out of date, according to the contractor’s label on the extinguishers,” the report reads.

When Stokes was recommended to the company by housing official Janice Wray, she described him as a good alternative due to his “competitive pricing” and particularly for being “willing to challenge the fire brigade on our behalf if he considered their [safety] requirements to be excessive.”

“Some located in the roof level areas [of Grenfell Tower] had 'condemned' written on them in large black writing, with a last test date of 2009 or 2010...This seems to indicate that monthly occupier inspects are not being carried out,” the report continued.

Inside Housing states a fire report from 2012 indicated missing “switch panels” and the building’s construction as a potential fire hazard. The panels installed four years later ultimately failed to pass fire safety tests and have been linked to the tragic fire which occurred in June.

The property management company stated that all building renovations were overseen and managed by local authorities from the Building Control Department according to the Building Regulation process.

Stokes was registered as the organization’s fire inspector from 2010-2016 and has received regular payments amounting to US$316,465 with the last assessment taking place in 2015.

KCTMO stated, “CS Stokes and Associates Ltd is confident that its fire risk assessment work was carried out to the highest professional standards."

“Director Carl Stokes has 19 years’ fire safety experience with local Fire Authorities, in enforcement and auditing roles and eight years as an independent fire risk assessor and fully stands by the recommendations made in his risk assessments.”

Stokes worked for the company for seven years which, according to his website, is the full extent of his career as a fire inspector Inside Housing reports. Additionally board papers salvaged from 2016 indicate the inspector maintaining a close relationship with the LFB (London Fire Brigade).

KCTMO have managed over 10,000 homes, including Grenfell Tower, and received the sum of US$14,250,005 from the council.

The fire which tore through the Grenfell Tower June 14 and left at least 80 dead and it’s speculated many more, due to the number of undocumented population in the building. Authorities believe that the full list causality may not be known until next year.

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