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tv   BBC News  BBC News  June 15, 2017 7:45pm-8:01pm BST

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the london fire has triggered concern right across the country. in belfast, fire safety leaflets are being handed out by the housing authority. suddenly there's intense scrutiny at every detail of the arrangements to cope with the fire. and while there are questions about all tower blocks, the key focus is on ones that have been fitted with cladding. all day there's been pressure from safety experts for every council building to be made safer with sprinklers. people don't die in sprinkler buildings. a single death in a sprinkler building is a very, very extremely rare event anywhere in the world. multiple death is almost unheard of. one of many tragic aspects of this tower block disaster is that for years experts have warned of the dangers of fire. back in 2013, a coroner called for sprinklers to be fitted to existing council tower blocks. a fire in south london had killed six people, but the recommendation wasn't followed and sprinklers are usually only installed in new buildings. next, having just one staircase — like in grenfell tower — has repeatedly been criticised as a hazard, limiting the chance for people to escape and for firefighters to get in. and there have long been concerns about cladding, the panels fitted outside the buildings. back in 1991, the rules about them were tightened, but regulations do not require that the panels should never burn.
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some critics say the current system of testing them doesn't go far enough. the cladding at lakanal house in south london was judged to have intensified the blaze there eight years ago. an architect who gave evidence at the inquest of the six people who died there says promises of action led nowhere. he fears the same could happen again this time. what are politicians for? what are these inquiries for? when something like lakanal house happens, they are all eager to go on television saying "lessons will be learned, our thoughts are with the families" and so on, but then nothing happens. it may be that the horror at grenfell tower will bring real change but it will be a monumental task. and in the meantime the company that did the refurbishment work, rydon, says that it met all regulations and now welcomes the public inquiry. david shukman, bbc news. with me is kurt barling,
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who's a former special correspondent for bbc london, who did an investigation into the lakanal house flat fire in camberwell injuly 2009 — in which six people died. he thinks that if the recommendations of the coroner in that case had been acted on, then it's possible that the scale of the tragedy at the grenfell tower fire might have resulted in fewer people losing their lives. kurt is now a professor ofjournalism at middlesex university, london. a fire that killed six people with firefighters coming out saying that they had never seen anything like what they had seen in that fire. it was nowhere near as catastrophic as g re nfell was nowhere near as catastrophic as grenfell house. lack in our house was a fire that raised an awful lot of questions about safety in those type of high—rise flats for their residents. the coroner in that case
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made a lot of recommendations. what we re made a lot of recommendations. what were the central ones? it took four yea rs were the central ones? it took four years to get too impressed. we can't wait that long to get a public enquiry. we need to look at the advice given to residents and the firefighting capability to get into a premise in order to get rid of the fire and rescue people. they talked about the fire risk assessments that are done on every single tower block around the country. it's a legal requirement. are they fit the purpose? what more needs to be done to make them fit for purpose? retrofitting of sprinklers, is it possible or affordable? the coroner said that they needed to look closely at that. most importantly about building regulations. in the end, a building is only as safe as
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the materials it is constructed from. the big concern is that this building that had been built in the 19605 building that had been built in the 1960s had been modified and in modification had been left less safe. where the modifications made to g re nfell safe. where the modifications made to grenfell tower is resulting in the inferno that we saw? was the building less safe than before the refurbishment. the coroner has a responsibility. it was a proxy almost for a public enquiry. a wide—ranging ii almost for a public enquiry. a wide—ranging 11 week inquest that looked at a mountain of evidence. the coroner under section 43 of the coroners act is allowed to say what might prevent deaths happening in the future. those recommendations essentially said, you have to take on board some of these issues. you wrote directly to the biggest eric pickles and said to the minister you must consider this as a matter of
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urgency. eric pickles wrote back to the coroner and said that they take the coroner and said that they take the matter very seriously and will make fire safety the highest priority. the prime minister will wa nt to priority. the prime minister will want to look at that correspondence amongst many other things and say if it was such a priority, why was it when this building was refurbished it had measures in place that perhaps compromised the fire safety? why do we say that? because we see an empty shell, 2a story building which is completely wiped out as a result as fire. a flat is supposed to be self—contained. result as fire. a flat is supposed to be self-contained. when they build those blogs, they made sure that the key ingredient in keeping people safe is that the flat would hold fire for 60 minutes. that gave firefighters time to get in and residence time to get out and life would be saved. the reality is, if
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these recommendations had been taken up, it's very likely of course that lives could have been saved. the fire wouldn't have spread so rapidly. that is a key question. why did it spread so rapidly?‘ rapidly. that is a key question. why did it spread so rapidly? a lot of theissues did it spread so rapidly? a lot of the issues that you phrased and many more will be looked at in this public enquiry into the grenfell tower fire. what stopped public enquiry into the grenfell towerfire. what stopped meaningful change? it's a really good question. the change was put on the table by the consequences of the fire, the dramatic nature of the fire. change was recommended by the coroner, the coroner was heard by the minister. the minister said that his officials we re the minister said that his officials were going to be in contact with social landlords, in other words, cascading advice down. clearly, this building was refurbished only 18 months ago. lots of our device
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clearly wasn't he did. the work they say was within the rules, perhaps it is the rules and regulations are wrong. having seen the trauma that families went through in that last fire, you have to say, so soon after, for another fire to fire, you have to say, so soon after, for anotherfire to happen, it is nothing short of a national scandal. not before time that we get a public enquiry. thinking back to lacanal must a public enquiry. thinking back to laca nal must have a public enquiry. thinking back to lacanal must have brought all those thoughts back to you. when i arrived, my heart sank. i thought, how is it possible in 2017 after we've been through that whole lacanal house we've been through that whole laca nal house quest we've been through that whole lacanal house quest to find out what went wrong, and people asked sensible questions, they got robust and reasoned argument and answers based on evidence, not on hearsay, on evidence, mountains of evidence, and recommendations put to the
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minster, the minister heard and acted, he said, to get people to work but it obviously didn't happen on the ground. in the end, this is time for the chat to stop. thank you very much. there has been politicalfallout from the fire with the prime minister and the leader of the 0pposition visiting today. and enquiry has also been announced by theresa may. let's go to westminster and speak to tom bateman. we know that the prime minister has said that the prime minister has said that a full public enquiry will take place. it will be a judge led enquiry. that enquiry will have the power to summon witnesses. that could be anyone from the housing association, from any contractors that carried out that renovation work right up to the local authority and any other party they think may
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be relevant to talk to. that is important because of the real sense of anger we've been hearing and seeing from the streets of west london where people, as you've heard, have felt there were warnings about the fire risk in that building. of course, that is something that politically the government must react to. the speed with which it has announced this public enquiry is of some importance. a specially convened meeting today, because officially parliament hasn't opened yet, a meeting convened with mps and ministers where mps made their frustrations and anger is known about whether this could have been prevented had the regulatory system be better. david lammy, mp for totte n ha m be better. david lammy, mp for tottenham in north london again talking about the fact that he had a friend who he hasn't been able to get hold of who lived on the 20th floor. both the labour leader and
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the prime minister visiting the scene. there has been some criticism of the fact that mrs may didn't meet residents, didn't meet survivors from the tower but instead chose to meet the emergency services. she said that she wanted to get a briefing from the emergency service personnel and they spoke of the terrible situation they had faced. however, one labour mp saying it was hurtful that she hadn't met any survivors while she was there. jeremy corbyn met many residents and went to one centre where they were trying to help those families made homeless. thank you very much. tom bateman in westminster. time for a look at the weather. su btle subtle changes with the weather story today. a cold front moving through, not much rain, ahead of it
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still hot and humid for a time. behind it, slightly fresher conditions. a rash of showers across northern ireland. in particular, western areas of scotland and northern ireland with the odd rumble of thunder as well. those showers should ease with intensity. we keep low cloud and drizzle into the far north—west. there are skies further south but a comfortable night for sleeping. not as humid as it has been. into friday morning, bit of fair weather cloud further north. all the time, the south—westerly breeze driving in a fair amount of low cloud. it will be misty closed close to the coast. with sunshine, into northern ireland, 20 degrees will be pleasant enough. a scattering of isolated showers across the lake district may be. in northern england the cloud should
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remain fairly well broken with highs of 21 degrees. not as hot and humid as it has been. for much of england and south wales dry and sunny. through friday night, it stays fairly quiet across england and wales. temperatures likely to settle with lows in the mid—teens. saturday morning starts on a promising note for many others. a good deal of dry weather for the weekend. high pressure still in the driving seat. across the top, that high pressure allows frontal systems to push into the north—west. here, a little more on the breezy side with showery ad brea ks on the breezy side with showery ad breaks of rain. further south, some sunshine with temperatures responding. as we move into sunday, the potential across england and wales, most likely into the south—east for a high of 30 degrees.
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if that's too hot—headed towards the coast, these are the sea temperatures. 11—14d. batted. taker. this is bbc news. the headlines at 8pm: the prime minister orders a full public inquiry into the fire that destroyed a residential tower block in west london. as the first victim of the fire is named by his family, mohammed alhajali, a 23—year—old syrian refugee, the death toll rises to 17. we need to know what happened, we need to have an explanation for this, we owe that to the families, to the people who have lost loved ones, friends and the homes in which they lived. theresa may made a private visit to the scene this morning to meet emergency services.
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the government says it will support the families whose homes were destroyed, with a promise to rehouse all those affected by the fire.
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