The horse has bolted, time to shut the door

Last week’s horrific fire in a block of flats in Camberwell resulted in 6 deaths – and now it appears there will be another Public Enquiry. How long will it take to pick over the pieces – and what difference will it make when everyone has stopped pointing fingers at each other?

Virtually all previous regulations have been set up after disastrous events – why do the politicians and governing bodies wait until there’s a disaster to take action; especially as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 was supposed to have stopped all that?

What is needed now is speed and honesty, not delay and confusion.

There are a few issues that could have contributed to this disaster:

  • The current (at the time of the event) fire safety strategy for the building was wrong
  • The workmanship relating to the fire protection measures was bad
  • The people just didn’t know what to do or didn’t do what they were supposed to.
  • The number of escape routes wasn’t the issue; there were enough – two exits from each flat, plus the main staircase.

    If the aim is to penalise landlords into improving their premises – they must take into account the fact that this particular building had upwards of £3 million spent on refurbishment and improvement just two years ago.

    From the reports it appears that people stayed in their apartments beyond the time when it was reasonable to do so.

    Warning people in time wasn’t an issue; they knew there was a fire.

    It was something else – and it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to work it out (although someone with knowledge of combustion theory might be useful!)

    People in similar properties will be worried about the place in which they’re living – and wondering if they are safe. Politicians need to take action now and visibly – not just talk about it and put on a Public Enquiry.

    If the system was inadequate then identify where and make changes, not just to this building, but to the way in which buildings are approved, managed and monitored.

    If someone is at fault then punish them – and make sure that others can’t make similarly fatal cutbacks or mistakes.

    If people weren’t knowledgeable then find out why not and take action to make sure that more lives aren’t lost whilst they decide what to do.