Grenfell Tower: Fire door test results reveal ‘shocking’ discovery
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has issued an unprecedented warning to the Government after a test on a fire-resistant door from Grenfell Tower lasted just half the time it was supposed to.
Detectives said the door, which was on a lower floor where the fire had not affected the building, was designed to hold back fire for 30 minutes, but only lasted 15.
The test was part of the MPS investigation into the fire at the west London tower on June 14, 2017, which killed 71 people. Labour MP Tony Lloyd told the House of Commons on Thursday (March 15) he was “astounded” by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid’s claim that the door problem is not a “systemic” issue.
He said: “If this isn’t systemic, what assessment has been made of how many buildings are potentially affected by this, how many individual flats, how many people who have fire doors that simply don’t do the job?”
The discovery comes shortly after it was revealed that the cladding and insulation installed at Grenfell Tower in 2014 were combustible, leading to several buildings having to replace similar instalments.
However, in a letter sent to the families who lived in the tower, Detective Chief Superintendent Matt Bonner said independent experts have advised that the “risk to the public safety is low”.
And Government officials have said further investigations are needed to evaluate whether the heat from the blaze might have compromised the resistance of the doors prior to the test.
A MPS spokesperson said: “The Metropolitan Police Service is conducting a comprehensive investigation into what happened at Grenfell Tower in June last year. We have previously described that our forensic examination at the scene would be followed by a phase of offsite testing to be conducted by experts on our behalf.
“As part of this investigation, experts tested a flat front door taken from Grenfell Tower. The door tested was designed to resist fire for 30 minutes but during the test, it was only found to resist the fire for approximately 15 minutes, a much shorter period than expected.
“The forensic examination and testing phase is ongoing and we are not able to comment on the potential impact or otherwise that any test result may have on the overall criminal investigation.
“We have shared this information with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and local Government as the appropriate Government department, so that they are able to take any action required.”
A spokesperson for Grenfell United, an organisation supporting the survivors of the tragedy, added: “It’s shocking – first the cladding and insulation then the doors, who knows what else is putting peoples lives at risk. It’s time people’s lives are taken more seriously – and that includes everyone from every walk of life.
“People’s homes must be made absolutely safe for them and their children. The Government should have improved regulations after previous fires. We can’t listen to anymore excuses.
“Grenfell United will not stop campaigning until the lessons of Grenfell are learnt. Nothing can bring our loved ones back but we must make sure a fire like this never happens again.”
The public inquiry into the fire, led by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, resumes next week.