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tv   Meet the Author  BBC News  June 15, 2017 8:45pm-9:01pm BST

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for all of those affected and promised a full investigation. we will support every family that is affected. we will be doing that. the leader of the opposition talked about the concerns. we are also hearing the same thing. they may be hearing the same thing. they may be hearing it, they will bejudged on what they do about it. joining us now is ronnie king. thank you forjoining us. would you explain just how your group fits in with the political process. the group is made up of mps and peers. they volunteer to join the group because they have an interest in fire and fire safety. we have been an active group. it is probably one of the best attended groups in parliament. it has no real status inasmuch as it cannot take any action, but it can certainly bring
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points to bear that come up from the fire and rescue service, generally, from the fire industry. and from good and bad practices. the group has been a very active group. i have been secretary for the last three yea rs. been secretary for the last three years. iam been secretary for the last three years. i am a former chief fire officer. i spent 42 years in the fire service, 20 years of that was as the chief fire officer. the comparison has been drawn between the grenfell tower and la ka nal house, which went up in flames in camberwell in 2009. we are also hearing that the recommendations from the coroner ‘s report haven't been implemented. why not?” from the coroner ‘s report haven't been implemented. why not? i can't say that it hasn't been fermented. i am sure the coroner wrote to southwark council with a letter of improvement, what should expect to happen. she talked about the
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procedures that came out of the inquest. she also wrote to the fire sector federation and she also wrote to four bodies and sent issues that arose from that fire. one of those issues, of course, that came out in this was prior to 1986 the london building axe, section 20, applying to the outside wall of buildings in tower blocks of flats, they were required to have a fire resistance of one hour. in 1986 the national building regulations were seen as appropriate because why should london be any different to the rest of the country? so the national building regulations, applied from 1986, that was verified by the
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coroner. because of that, the one hour fire resistance from the outside wall disappeared and all that was required was to have a surface spread of flame classification. this will seemed to bea classification. this will seemed to be a weaker standard than one hour of fire resistance. i suppose... that is what allowed, i suppose, such things as cladding to be used and to be compliant because it did not have to have that degree of fire resistance. having just spoken to a chartered surveyor, he was talking about a whole range of issues. a sprinkler system being in place. rainproof cladding being put on the building to make it look better. sealant around the windows, which effectively create a cavity between the very external wall and the
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internal wall. he is baffled, it seems, that these kinds of editions are allowed to be made. isn't your group equally baffled? yes. the group equally baffled? yes. the group has, since 2013, spoken to three successive ministers about the building regulations. but, of course, ministers have to consider what the public are telling them. and what is the evidence. and at the time, fire deaths were down. fire numbers were down. and it looked like fire was in a good place. we did have it for lakanal house. there was a recommendation to all landlords that automatic sprinkler fire protection should be considered where the high rise building was of a similar design to lakanal, which had a particular design. the group
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recommended to successive ministers that we may need to change the regulations. the first thing was to have a review of those regulations which were later reviewed 11 years ago. and are now in need of review badly and we are pressing ministers to review it. one of the ministers did agree to meet the group prior to the election that it had to be cancelled on tour after. and then he lost his seat, didn't he? yes. -- to be cancelled until after. the bill would now proceed. because all we wa nt would now proceed. because all we want is to have that review. if you have the review you can bring up these issues. that is what the group was trying to achieve. these issues. that is what the group was trying to achievelj these issues. that is what the group was trying to achieve. i want to talk to you about the other older tower blocks in the uk that don't have sprinkler systems. systems which clearly save lives. how concerned are you about other
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residential tower blocks around the country? i am an advocate of automatic fire sprinklers, because, you know, i have been in fire safety in the fire service for 41 years. i think they work. people don't die in sprinkler buildings. that is a fact. that is important. because if you know that you are never going to die because you have a sprinkler protection, that is wonderful. in sheffield we trialled a sprinkler fitting in a tower block of old people. the tower block actually cost about £1100 per flat. it worked out at about £40 per year over its lifetime to install, pay for, and maintain an automatic sprinkler system for those people. we said it can be done, it can be retrofitted, it can be done. we have always pressed on this. but of course you are pressing against a government
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that has to legislate and add burdens of fire safety on to businesses. we are then coming to the red tape challenge. and the cost. we are told if you have one new regulations you have got to remove three. that might be all right if we are talking about insulation, and desirable things, but if we are talking about fire safety, one in and three out doesn't sound to be a good dealforfire safety. in terms of this public enquiry theresa may announced today. can you briefly, if possible, tell us the scope it needs to have and the speed with which we need to get on with it? i think it needs to be thorough. however long it takes to get to the root of the problem, and cover every aspect, is importance. yes, we would like it to be concluded very quickly and come to some agreeable findings, but that
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fire is unusual. that fire, to spread laterally through rooms and compartments that had fire resistance, and to penetrate the staircase and render it unusable, when the staircase is a protected route, is extremely strange. whether or not fire externally contributed to the fire laterally, but is yet to come out. and that will come out in the investigation because we've got video evidence, we've got a timeline, when did the fire start, how long did it take to develop, what does that suggest, is it unusual, is it normal? not many people, if any, unusual, is it normal? not many people, ifany, have unusual, is it normal? not many people, if any, have seen a fire enveloped the domestic property like this. this is extreme. this is horrific. we must sympathise with the families. we have to congratulate and pay tribute to the firefighters who went into that
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building. certainly. briefly, if you would, what use is a public enquiry if the recommendations are not acted upon? a public enquiry, lakanal house was an inquest. that produced a verdict. a public enquiry will make sure that no stone is left unturned. and enquiry will involve people who know what they are talking about. who have experienced. who have experienced buildings, building regulations, and they know what the good and bad practices are. they will look and see if it is unusual. because it certainly hasn't happened before. it is obviously horrendous. i am confident it will get the proper outcome that is needed. thank you very much. thank you. police say they may never be able to identify all of those who died. around the streets and temporary shelters you will see
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handwritten posters listing the names of people who have not yet been found. our correspondent reports now on two families' desperate search for relatives. you may find some of the details distressing. mohammed hakim fears he's lost everyone — his mother, father, two brothers and sister. all his extended family supporting him now rushed to the fire when the calls of panic came. i spoke to her and the last few words she said to me was, please forgive me if i've said anything to upset you or hurt you. i don't think we're going to make it out of the building. they were supposed to be celebrating next month. his sister, husna, was getting married, but the entire family were trapped on the 17th floor. and they were reciting from the koran. and it wasjust heartbreaking, and then itjust cut out. and then i rang husna. she was, like, we're not going to make it, we can't make it, we can see flames under the door.
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we can see flames under the door. i kept saying, try and put things under the door to stop the smoke coming in and get as low as you can and open the windows. someone's going to come, callthe fire brigade, do something. and then she stopped talking. all i could hear was this crackling noise in the background, because the phone was still on, but she wasn't saying anything. the not knowing is killing me. i really need to find out where they are. the family stood helpless outside, unable to rescue them. this is the worst thing i remember in my life. i saw my uncle, from the 17th floor. he opened the window. he kept shouting, "please, help us, get us out." he was saying allah's name, and all this. i kept looking at him, helpless.
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mohammed, it must be extremely difficult, just not knowing? not losing one member of my family, but losing all five, the whole, entire family. i don't have my parents any more and you only get one set of parents in this world. and i had three siblings. they are all gone, in the space of a couple of hours, after leaving their house, they are all gone. and no—one wants to give us any information about their whereabouts, if they are still within the building, or not. they still have hope, but feel bereft of help. adel chaoui is another relative deep in grief and frustration. ba by leena belkadi, just six months old, is missing, along with her mum, farah, and her dad, omar. they eventually found two of the baby's sisters in hospital. we found one of the children there, the younger. my brother is looking around, and he is staring at another bed. and asks farah's older sister to have a look. farah's older sister says, "that's the other child, that's the older one." they were beds apart and nobody in authority was making any effort to identify them.
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you've had to do this all yourself? we've had to do it ourselves. so many families here are looking, hoping, dreading the news that may come. lucy manning, bbc news, west london. now, time for the weather. a fuse scattered showers around, chiefly across north—west scotland and filtering into northern england. a relatively quiet night with high pressure still driving the story down across england and wales. lots of sunshine across england and wales first thing. a little more in the way of cloud further north and west. a south—westerly breeze will continue to dry in more cloud and drizzle across the west coast of
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scotland. we could see highs of 19 to 21 degrees from northern ireland and scotland. 23 in the south—east corner, the highest. things are set to heat up as we get towards the weekend. a hot and humid story across england and wales with temperatures peaking possibly at 30 degrees. a little more in the way of cloud and breeze the further you are north. hello, i'm ros atkins. this is outside source. the death toll in the london tower block fire is now 17, but it's certain to rise. police have said they hope the number of victims will not reach 100 and have warned some victims may never be identified. theresa may visited the scene today and made this announcement. what we need to do is to ensure is that this terrible tragedy is properly investigated. that's why i'm ordering a full public inquiry. residents who lost their homes and are searching for loved
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ones now want answers. at the moment we're grieving but there is a bubbling anger underneath and we do want to see someone held accountable for this. president trump has hit back at reports he's under investigation for obstruction ofjustice, while not denying it may be happening.

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