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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 September 2019

Another London block of flats destroyed by fire - remove unsafe cladding now!

Barking Riverside residents protest outside the estate sales office, 29.6.19, photo Ian Pattison

Barking Riverside residents protest outside the estate sales office, 29.6.19, photo Ian Pattison   (Click to enlarge)

Mihaela Gheorghe, Barking Reach residents' association

I woke up on 9 September to learn about the fire that happened at Worcester Park, south west London, exactly three months after the fire that took place in Samuel Garside House in Barking, the building where I live.

Fortunately, like in our situation, there were no casualties. But the impact of the fire and the trauma it has inflicted on us all, as residents, will stay with us forever.

Initial reports say that flames quickly spread to all four floors of the building at Worcester Park, probably as a result of wooden cladding, very similar to that on Samuel Garside house.

Like our fire, some 125 firefighters and 20 fire engines tackled the blaze, which started, residents suspect, on the wooden balconies, which would again be exactly like ours. The danger was greater in Worcester Park because the fire took place at night and once again it's a miracle that no one died.

After Grenfell, the government confirmed a ban on some of the combustible cladding, but only on high-rise buildings over 18 metres. This still allows all those deadly flammable materials to be used on low-rise buildings.

We were all extremely lucky to get out of the flames in time and we want to force the government to change the building regulations. If not lives will be lost. The reality of that happening is likely - a matter of when, not if.

Wooden cladding still decorates the first phase of the Riverside estate from one side to the other. We're still waiting to see whether the builders and landlords will act on our demands that all flammable cladding be removed.

Samuel Garside residents, alongside all the residents of the Barking Riverside estate, condemned the government for its failure to force landlords to remove the evident danger to life, and its philosophy of deregulation and privatisation. Our Barking Reach residents' association is conducting its own independent enquiry to expose the failings.

In our case, a fire risk assessment clearly pointed to the danger the continuous decorative wood on the balconies posed and yet the landlord failed to take sufficient action to remove it. Was there a fire risk assessment done in Worcester Park? The Worcester Park residents have our wholehearted support and solidarity during this difficult time.

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In The Socialist 11 September 2019:


International socialist news and analysis

Far right makes gains in Germany

South Africa: Xenophobic violence - a product of failed capitalist policies

West Papuans demand self-determination in London


What we think

Tories in tatters: Corbyn must seize the time


Opinion

Capitalist 'democracy' v socialist democracy


Workplace news

TUC: Lost opportunity to organise a united struggle

NSSN lobby of TUC: Upbeat meeting calls for trade union lead to boot out Tories

Fighting PCS general secretary needed - Marion Lloyd: Why I am standing

End austerity in the civil service: General election now

PCS strike at BEIS: "The life we live is not liveable"

Unions must fight to make bus drivers and passengers safe

Asda workers protest against worse contract

UCU ballots - yes to strike action on pensions, pay, workloads and equality

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Students and workers unite against fees, low pay climate change

Tory meltdown - Organise to finish them off

Another London block of flats destroyed by fire - remove unsafe cladding now!

Leeds pensioners occupy BBC to save free TV licenses

Frimley hospital staff fight back-door privatisation

Leicester Kashmir protest rejects religious smokescreen

Salisbury welcomes Socialist campaigners

Socialist newspaper sales round-up

Coventry: 100 pack meeting against congestion charge

Climate strikes: trade union round-up


Scotland

Scotland and Brexit: Developing threat to the capitalist union


 

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