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  • Smoke billows from a tower block severly damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain, on June 14, 2017.

    Smoke billows from a tower block severly damaged by a serious fire, in north Kensington, West London, Britain, on June 14, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

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Questions are being asked about why regulations appear to have been ignored.

The British government had been warned that some London tower blocks were vulnerable to fires but failed to act, according to several reports in the U.K. media.

At Least 12 Dead, Dozens Injured in London Tower Fire

At least 12 people died in a blaze that engulfed the Grenfell Tower in the west of the capital Wednesday and 75 others were injured.

Police say the death toll is still "likely to rise."

A review of the regulations was called for after an inquest into a tower block fire in Lakanal House, south-east London, left six people dead and more than a dozen injured in 2009.

A separate inquest in 2013 also called for sprinklers to be fitted into high-rise buildings to save lives.

“Our group recommended that due to the speed that the fire spread in Lakanal House, building regulations should be reviewed. It's nearly 11 years since it has been reviewed,” Ronnie King, the honorary administrative secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group, told LBC Radio.

“Successive ministers since 2013 have said they are still looking at it.”

Gavin Barwell, then housing minister and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s new chief of staff, promised last year to review part B of the Building Regulations 2010, which relates to fire safety, but the report never materialized.

The same regulations still apply to about 4,000 tower blocks across the country.

Experts warned about the need to review the regulations again in March this year.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour party leader, says the relevant lawmakers should be interviewed regarding the matter.

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“Obviously ministers that served and received those reports must be questioned. But today every focus and every concentration must be on saving and protecting life,” Corbyn said during an interview with LBC Radio.

Grenfell Tower residents said their concerns about fire safety in the building over many years and during a US$12 million refurbishment last year, had been ignored by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the block’s management company.

In a blog David Collins of the Grenfell action group said: “ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.”

Housing activists called the fire a tragedy that was the result of a “combination of government cuts, local authority mismanagement, and sheer contempt for council tenants and the homes they live in.”

The investigation into the cause of the blaze is likely to focus on whether cladding panels fixed to the outside of the building contributed to the speed at which the fire spread.


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