Published August 24, 2019
Residents were forced to run for their lives after fire broke out at a high rise flat less than a mile from Grenfell Tower.
Ten fire engines and 70 firefighters were called to the blaze on the 12th floor at Markland House.
No injuries were reported and an investigation into the blaze is now underway.
But residents were left angry at the alleged absence of fire alarms, smoke detectors and fire sprinklers.
Halsho Draey, who has lived in the block for around 20 years, said he was angry at how the situation was handled.
The 34-year-old said: “I saw the fire extinguishers were only reaching the fifth or sixth floor. I said that wasn’t going to diffuse the fire. I said [to the fire brigade] ‘you need to go inside’, not to waste time. I witnessed Grenfell. How do you expect me to be?”
His cousin Dawan, who was staying in the same seventh-floor flat, said he had heard no alarms as he exited the building.
He said: “No sprinklers. No alarms, nothing. You would think after Grenfell they would have learned and listened. I just don’t think they care about this part of the community.”
Samantha Findley said she thought she smelled burning plastic in the tower block and immediately left her 10th floor flat.
“I smelled it. So I thought ‘let me get out, I’m out’,” the 41-year-old resident added. “I was concerned. I was very fearful.”
Billy Hunt, who had been sleeping after a night shift was woken by the smell, claimed there were no alarms.
He alerted neighbours to the blaze before escaping and said: “They should be going off all over the place, especially after Grenfell.”
Samantha Findley, 41, smelled what she thought was burning plastic in the tower block before immediately fleeing her 10th floor flat.
“I smelled it. So I thought ‘let me get out, I’m out’. I grabbed my keys, my phone. I’m out. I’m not seeing where it is or anything. I’m out.”
Miguel Alves, who survived the Grenfell Tower blaze in 2017, was passing the area when he saw fire engines and police.
He said: “I feel shocked because it’s only 200 metres or 300 or 400 metres anyway from Grenfell Tower. It’s on the same area. It’s difficult to believe something happened again on the same area.”
It is believed a fire broke out on the 12th floor of Markland House around 11.30am on Friday morning. Smoke could be seen from miles around and 30 people called the emergency services.
Firefighters arrived quickly on the scene in Darfield Way and the fire was under control within 90 minutes by 12.55pm,
Kensington and Chelsea Council officers and Councillors stepped in to assist residents following the fire, immediately rehousing one family and helping others to return home.
Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith, Deputy Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: “Obviously, we will need to investigate the causes of the fire, but at the moment I am just thankful that everyone is safe.
“This community saw the Grenfell tragedy happen two years ago and I am fully aware of the impact that had on individuals. Our officers were on site quickly, with NHS colleagues, and a respite centre opened for anyone who needs support. We provided water and items for children such as milk and nappies.
“If the resulting investigation finds anything wrong with the safety of the building, we will take immediate action.”
The investigation into the fire, which appears to have started on a balcony, continues.
Fire sprinklers installed by Protect24 at a block in Greater Manchester dealth with a flat fire immediately, saving a woman’s life. The building did not even need to be evacuated.
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