Grenfell Tower: 'Questions were raised and we were assured it was safe', says Councillor Robert Atkinson

Grenfell Tower: 'Questions were raised and we were assured it was safe', says Councillor Robert Atkinson

The tower caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A local councillor has said the authorities received assurances of the safety of Grenfell Tower from the organisation responsible for it, following a recent refurbishment.

The tower block on Latimer road caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Witnesses described how the flames spread up and around the tower, trapping residents within the structure. 

Twelve people have been confirmed dead, while dozens have been taken to hospital around the capital for treatment.

In the wake of the fire, a local group called the Grenfell Action Group wrote on their webpage "all of our warnings had fallen onto deaf ears". As far back as 2013, the group was raising concerns about potential safety issues

However Robert Atkinson, the Labour Councillor for the ward which encompasses Grenfell Tower, told Julia Hartley-Brewer that Kensington and Chelsea borough council had acted to confirm the tower's safety with the managing organsation, the Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO). 

He said: "They did raise those questions with us on a number of occasions, we sought responses from the appropriate people and we were assured they were adequate.

"We are now rechecking the assurances we got, but the honest answer is nobody knows.

"This type of thing should not happen after a multi-million pound refurbishment to make the building safer."

When pressed for an explanation, he said only "my view is the building was engulfed in flames and something has gone drastically wrong."

Atkinson also called for any people with connections to residents of the building to do what they can to rehouse them.

Listen above.