Tuesday, 4 July 2017

GRENFELL: Post-fire interior photographs.

A discussion on what is revealed by them.

A number of post-fire photographs of Grenfell flat interiors have been published. These are reproduced below. The exact location or number of the flats to which they refer has not been identified as far as I know. The source script of the fourth image seems to suggest these were issued by the police although they may have been taken by members of the Fire Service. How the decision was made to make these specific images available to the public, and the purpose of so doing, has not been revealed. It should be noted that all the images below were published by different news sources, several being American.

To a trained eye, beyond the obvious devastation, certain features can be observed. It should be noted that beside the building being severely damaged by fire, it was also a designated crime scene (or should have been) the practical effect of which is that access and interference is strictly controlled and only designated persons are allowed in. Presumably every stage of the process was subject to photographic and other recording as part of a forensic process. This would have included images of all fatalities and human remains as and where they were found.

We have heard virtually nothing of this process. Perhaps even more surprising, despite a room-by-room inspection that would have identified ALL human remains, in various states of decomposition, no precise details have been made public other than generalisations. This is quite extraordinary, particularly in the light of the fact that it is estimated that in excess of 500 were in the building at the time, partly as a result of Ramadan celebrations and/or sub-letting and less than 200 have been identified as survivors.

David Lammy MP was quoted as follows:


“So we know a little bit more, but we still don’t have a list of survivors. We’re still not able to subtract the list of survivors from the approximate number of people in the building

“We know that 80 people have lost their lives but the view amongst the victims – I spoke to them yesterday – is that many more lost their lives.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/grenfell-tower-fire-death-toll-david-lammy-official-cover-police-up-80-people-mp-latest-survivors-a7819156.html

Given that all dead bodies must by now have been retrieved although not necessarily identified, this statement by Lally and all the others emanating from officialdom, not only appear inexplicable but also suspicious.

It may seem rather gory, but it should be noted that humans tend in fires tend to be overcome and killed by fume and smoke rather than heat, particularly as in this case, poisonous gas (cyanide) was generated by the insulation materials. However total incineration to ash takes both time and temperature. 

If the photographs below are typical, it will be observed despite much damage, many combustible items (cupboards) remain largely in situ. This would suggest that bodies on the floor would have been badly scorched but still clearly identifiable. Again this makes the lack of clarity over the total number of bodies or remains recovered quite inexplicable, and the government should explain why.

Photo 1. may be contrasted with Photo 2. It appears these are two different flats with similar internal layout. The former is taken whilst the remains of fire is still apparent. This raises a question as to what is feeding the flame as it appears still to be burning with some intensity despite the fact that wooden cupboards are largely undamaged? Further who would capture the image without first extinguishing the remnant flames? What is the fuel for the flame in that corner location? Could it be escaping gas?

Note also in this image the washing machine door is largely undamaged - metal and plastic? - and the cooker door is open. In the second image (photo 2) both cooker and washing machine doors appear to be absent. This is understandable in the case of the washing machine, less so in the case of the steel oven door. Fire in the room would not remove the door which would require some physical intervention either exterior or interior to it. The images are too indistinct to say whether the cookers are gas or electric but of course all this will be known by management and investigators.

The debris on the floor appears to be mainly consisting of the board used for the partitions which have totally collapsed. It raises the question as to what material was used in them and their fire retardant capabilities. They appear to have shattered in places. Did they burn or did they shatter from heat or explosion of hot vapours? Note some partition is retained near the floor giving indicators as to what happened.

In photo 3. again it can be seen the oven door is missing not explainable in terms of external fire. None of the metal shown in the washing machine, cooker, step ladder or exercise bicycle have been warped, melted or substantially damaged. Temperatures were obviously not sufficient for this to take place although the rubber or foam seat on the latter was consumed.

The wall lining attached to the wall with dabs of mortar or adhesive have totally disintegrated and fallen away from the wall which remains intact and a fire barrier.

In images 4. and 5. we see how the wooden cabinet beneath the stainless steel sink collapsed from fire, leaving the sink itself largely undamaged. Also the damage to the bathroom. Note again the fact that copper pipework is unaffected. This would indicate the interior temperature was somewhat less than the copper melting point namely, 1085 degrees C. What melted and what didn't can be used as indicators of fire temperature of course.

There are indications that temperatures were higher on the rhs of the bath where the taps were located from the damage to the front panel and the fact that the end panel is virtually undamaged. There also appears to be scorch marks at the gas boiler end which fits with the damage to the tiled surface. Temperatures obviously increased with height and maybe sources of gas?

In all these images it is clear that the windows, which we assume were double glazed plastic units, offered little protection from the flame that raged outside, mainly because the frames presumably lost their integrity. This raises an important safety issue. Would frames of a different material have offered greater protection? The evidence for this is particularly apparent in Photo 7. Note how the frames have melted and come away from their fixings.

There is no evidence in these images of interior fire doors and clearly given the way partitions combusted and collapsed, they would have been of little use even if installed. I can see no evidence of the remains of fire extinguishers or equipment in the debris although of course this not conclusive as to their provision or not as the case maybe.

The last image (photo 8.) shows the two doors to the lift shaft. By rights this common area that also housed the staircase, should have been protected by TWO sets of self closing fire doors. As the fire was external to the building, this should have provided sufficient time for escape from all floors, holding back both smoke and heat.

Ventilation should have kept the smoke to controlled levels. Instead there are claims that smoke breached these barriers and this image certainly supports that conclusion. Not only is there obvious smoke damage, but fire/heat appears to affected it also. We do not know which of the 24 floors is represented, but there is obviously an issue here that will require attention.

There were distinct stages to the fire:


  • How it originated and took hold?
  • How it involved the exterior cladding and why this was not fire retardant?
  • Why it travelled so fast and so easily ignited the interiors of multiple flats?
  • Why residents did not or could not evacuate via the staircase?
  • Why fire resistent doors did not protect the stairwell from heat and smoke?







Photo 1.


http://news.images.itv.com/image/file/1326125/stream_img.jpg


Photo 2.


https://www.e-architect.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/grenfell-tower-flat-interior-after-fire-x190617-mp.png


Photo 3.


https://i.ytimg.com/vi/6F356D5a164/maxresdefault.jpg






Photo 4.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/video_previews/b/u/buegftyje64yo7t0llqod3eqdeanvsin-large.jpg


Photo 5.


https://media2.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2017_24/2042901/170618-london-grenfell-tower-police-handout-se-559p_c6734cf312f55ac2a0dab8ca56c518ef.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg


Photo 6.


https://i.ytimg.com/vi/_UyM2-dThwU/maxresdefault.jpg



Photo 7.


https://static01.nyt.com/images/2017/06/20/world/20Londonfire4/20Londonfire4-superJumbo.jpg







Photo 8.


http://static2.uk.businessinsider.com/image/594798a7f4c68e25008b4654-1244/lift.jpg







7 comments:

  1. Video of the same room here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-R2ZdHw3Rw

    ReplyDelete
  2. Arconic (the cladding manufacturers) and its CEO (up until 17.5.17) Klaus Kleinfeld and his international links. The product used has now been withdrawn for this application.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78afA0K3QpM

    ReplyDelete
  3. Media background of main witness of 'faulty fridge' explanation. Doubt thrown on his reliability:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at_D7PyYhrE

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Six weeks before, working on the gas. Blue flames - gas you know?"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrDCWUN3aIQ

    ReplyDelete
  5. https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09829533/officers

    GREAT BRITAIN MARKETING LIMITED - Officers (free…
    BETA.COMPANIESHOUSE.GOV.UK

    Correspondence address
    International House, 24 Holborn Viaduct,, Holborn Viaduct, London, England, EC1A 2BN
    Role ACTIVE
    Director
    Date of birth
    July 1987
    Appointed on
    19 October 2015
    Nationality
    British
    Country of residence
    United Kingdom
    Occupation
    Managing Director
    MURRAY, Jamie

    Correspondence address
    11 Camelford Court, Lancaster West, London, United Kingdom, W11 1TU
    Role RESIGNED
    Director
    Date of birth
    August 1989
    Appointed on
    19 October 2015
    Resigned on
    15 March 2017
    Nationality
    British
    Country of residence
    England
    Occupation
    Director

    ReplyDelete
  6. For self-help calculation of likely fatalities see:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/30/grenfell-fire-volunteers-help-residents-compile-death-toll

    And: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155514643681170&set=gm.1895844683987171&type=3&theater

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rosemary Robartes2 days ago
    mental_boost yes it's a radiator but a lightweight steel one that is fixed to what you would call in the US Sheetrock or plasterboard here . If you look at the fire damage the flat has undergone extensive renovation . The ceilings and walls have been covered with plasterboard by the technique known as 'dot and dab' where large dabs of wet plaster bonding are slapped on the wall and the boards then stuck to the dabs. This work has been done in the window reveals too . This leaves an air gap of around 20mm behind the fire resistant plasterboard . Any combustible material or air will promote fire to blow this off the walls by expanding gases . What has happened is the uPVC frames have burned in the reveals and have allow combustible gases behind the wall boarding that is why it's is all over the floor. You can still see the dabs around the walls . One area of original wall has got so hot the plaster finish has blown or this may have been an old damp patch covered up by the work .When these flats were built there would have been cinder block or aerated concrete walls internally . The remodelling has removed these and they have been replaced with what appears to be 76mm Gyproc metal stud work around the bathroom and service pipe work with insulation . 12.7 MM of plasterboard gives a half hour fire rating , 2 layers up to 1 hr and so on but only if the correct system is adopted . As you can see where the original walls are intact they are flat and an intumescent adhesive should have been used to apply the boards to eliminate the air gap behind them . It's possible that the walls were not stripped of wallpaper before the boards were applied . This can be easily discovered by removing one of the dabs to check behind it as this dab would have protected old wallpaper ! Some of the kitchen areas should have been constructed with panels of Supalux or Vermiculux which depending on thickness can give 1 1/2 hr fire rating or more again with intumescent cement . I could not see any smoke or fire blankets around the foul and main pipe work to protect any hose real system that may have been fitted . Since Ronan Point in East London , a gas explosion in the 60s caused part of the tower block to collapse but with no subsequent fire as steel Windows and block walls prevented this , but gas installation was banned in tower block construction . But it was not a gas explosion that caused the fire at Grenfell but an electric fridge freezer explosion . Which has been tested by independent and Hotpoint inspectors with out problems . Electric fridge freezers are amongst the most safest and reliable appliances used anywhere and are only normally changed when rusty or boredom sets in ! A fridge can explode during the synthesis of primary explosives as cold temperatures are required for crystallisation of explosives such as TATP used in the Brusells bombing last year . In fact I found just such an incident by googling fridge exploding . The guy was seriously injured in this case .Seems odd that the flat where the fridge exploded , the occupant sent his family away and was seen to be leaving his flat by the neighbour with bags already packed . He has not been seen since despite the cash handouts to the occupants in the tower . Interesting ?

    ReplyDelete