Manslaughter charges possible in London high-rise tragedy

Council leader Georgia Gould said that, following checks, external cladding on the blocks "was not up to the standard that we wanted and was not fire retardant".

A faulty fridge freezer sparked the huge fire that gutted a 24-storey residential tower in west London last week, Scotland Yard said on Friday as it mulled slapping manslaughter charges against those responsible for the tragedy that killed at least 79 people.

In a statement on Friday evening Ms Gould said firefighters and council officials had inspected the estate on Friday and said the buildings should be emptied.

She said London Fire Brigade had completed a joint inspection of the blocks with Camden Council technical experts and the council has chose to "temporarily decant" residents.

"We have liaised with residents at Durham House and will work to ensure they continue to feel safe and comfortable in their homes".

Tests are being carried out on the cladding at Durham House, in the city centre, to see if it is a fire risk.

The Scottish government and Welsh ministers have said that none of their council high-rise blocks has a cladding of the type said to have been used in the Grenfell Tower.

The company manufactured 64,000 Hotpoint refrigerators between 2006 and 2009 with the model numbers FF175BP and FF175BG-the former of these two was the model make of the Whirlpool refrigerator that blew up.

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Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters that "we are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards".

The way the fire spread and the rapid speed of its spread through the building, leading to whole families being incinerated by the flames, is forming part of what was described as "one of the biggest and most complex investigations" by the Met police.

Buildings in London, Manchester and Plymouth are among those where problem cladding has been identified.

Preliminary tests on the samples of insulation showed it burned soon after the test started, and more quickly than the cladding tiles.

McCormack said the police investigation would look at the entire facade of the building, how the building was constructed and the refurbishment work.

Police says 79 people are either dead or missing and presumed dead in the blaze, although that number may change.

"We want to identify all those who died as result of the fire at Grenfell Tower, and that is where I need the public's help", McCormack said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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