At least 78 people are confirmed dead in a huge fire that ripped through a west London tower block, Grenfell Tower in north Kensington. The death toll could still rise.
Up to 600 people are believed to have been inside Grenfell Tower’s 120 flats when the blaze tore through the 24-storey building in the early hours of 14 June. Several residents are still unaccounted for and many families are homeless.
The tragedy is a timely reminder that large towers cannot be safely evacuated in case of an emergency.
Simon Jenkins of the London Evening Standard commented:
“Fires in towers are very infrequent, and the failings at Grenfell may result from an outdated design. […] But towers are claustrophobic. They are gated anti-communities. Nor are they an efficient use of urban space, since their lifts, escapes and servicing consume ever more of their volume the higher they go. Yes, the modern city needs denser living but it can find plenty of that nearer the ground. Grenfell should force a rethink, not just of safety but of planning.”
Are the politicians and planners taking notice?