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London fire: Cladding fears raised by Camden tower block residents

The Chalcot Estate Image copyright Google
Image caption The five tower blocks of the Chalcot estate are fitted with the same external thermal cladding as Grenfell Tower

Residents of a tower block refurbished by the same firm as Grenfell Tower have voiced concerns about the safety of their homes.

Rydon Construction fitted thermal external cladding to five tower blocks in the Chalcot Estate in Camden.

The company said its work met all building and fire regulations and work was signed off by building inspectors.

Camden Council said it had a robust fire safety policy and was carrying out extra safety checks on the cladding.

Fire investigators have not yet identified the cause of the Grenfell Tower fire or why it engulfed the block.

Westminster, Barnet, Newham, Croydon and Redbridge are among the boroughs that Rydon Construction has worked with in the past 40 years.

Local councils around the country are now carrying out safety checks on refurbished tower blocks.

Image copyright Camden New Journal
Image caption Fires have occurred before on the Chalcot Estate such as on the 17th floor of the Taplow Tower in January 2012

Residents of the Chalcot Estate - which includes four 22-storey tower blocks and one 18-storey block - told BBC London they were worried about safety and what to do in the event of a fire.

Roger Evans said the residents had never had a fire drill in the time he had lived there. "We do have fire alarms in each flat. The advice on the board is to stay put," he added.

Margaret de Micheli , who has lived on the estate for 40 years said: "I try not to think about it to be quite honest because it can be a bit frightening. There has been a fire on the 17th floor."

Fellow resident Nathaniel Fairnington said: "We haven't really been given any advice. There are a couple of signs which are also basic common sense such as not to use the lifts and then get out of the building."

He said it was "extremely worrying" if the external cladding fitted to the block was now deemed a fire risk.

On Thursday Rydon Construction said it welcomed the launch of a public inquiry into the cause of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. It added it had offered its help and support to the relevant authorities, who were investigating the causes of the fire.

A spokesman for Camden Council said: "Camden has a robust fire safety policy in place and all housing blocks on our estates receive Fire Risk Assessments. We continue to work closely with the London Fire Brigade and our Partners to ensure our fire safety procedures continue to meet the latest advice and guidance for all properties.

"As is usual in response to such a serious incident, our high rise blocks are receiving additional fire safety checks, including an inspection of cladding, to reassure Camden residents.

"We also stand ready to respond to any new advice from London Fire Brigade that may emerge from the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower."

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