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UK update: 27 high-rises have dangerous cladding

25 June 2017

When the Camden Council announced the immediate evacuations at Chalcots Estate late Friday, it put the number of affected households at around 800.

(Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP).

"I know it's hard, but Grenfell changes everything and I just don't believe we can take any risk with our residents' safety and I have to put them first".

The high-rises are located in the borough of Camden's Chalcots Estate, where inspectors determined the exterior cladding posed a fire risk.

A local London council has made a decision to evacuate some 800 households in apar.

The local council in Camden, a borough of London, removed cladding from one of its buildings for further testing after initial tests showed some panels were "not to the standard that we had commissioned". Residents say they were given little notice and were forced to seek emergency shelter. Some refused to leave their high-rise apartments.

The council has said that it will remove external cladding from five tower blocks on the Chalcots Estate, as well as carrying out regular fire safety patrols and safety checks.

Combustible cladding used to insulate the tower and improve its appearance has been blamed for the rapid spread of the blaze.

So far, Camden Council has been the only local authority known to have asked residents to leave as a precaution.

A young boy is evacuated from the Taplow Tower residential blockon the Chalcots Estate in north London.

The council said residents would be out of their homes for three to four weeks while it completes fire-safety upgrades.

Camden Borough Council says in a statement Saturday that it housed numerous residents at two temporary shelters while many others were provided hotel rooms.

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"I offered to pay for fire stations to be stationed outside all of those blocks so we could have a couple of days to get the work done but the message there was absolutely nothing I could do to make those blocks safe that night". "There's no organisation and it's chaos", she said.

"This is now a nationwide threat and the prime minister needs to get a grip", Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

The council added it was booking hotels but around 100 residents have spent the night on air beds in a leisure centre nearby.

May told the House of Commons on Thursday that government facilities have found combustible cladding after local officials submitted samples in the wake of the fire. Residents will be allowed in at the weekend to collect more possessions under escort from the fire brigade.

Many residents complained that they only found out about the evacuation through television and were not properly informed. "And they told us that they will cut our gas", she said. Other residents were distraught that they were ordered to evacuate but were told to leave their pets behind in buildings that could be unsafe.

Along with local councils, NHS Trusts have also been told to urgently check their buildings to establish whether they are clad in materials used on Grenfell Tower.

The Metropolitan Police said cladding attached to the 24-storey public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and they had seized documents from a number of organisations.

"We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards", Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters.

McCormack said police were investigating companies involved in the building and refurbishment of the tower, and possible "health and safety and fire safety offences".

Hotpoint said it was working with authorities to examine the appliance, adding "words can not express our sorrow at this bad tragedy".

May encouraged the owners of both public and private tower blocks around the country to quickly forward samples of any similar material for testing. At least one hotel chain is calling in experts to make certain its properties meet safety regulations. Prime Minister Theresa May also said the government won't penalize any fire survivors in the country illegally.

UK update: 27 high-rises have dangerous cladding