Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. London High-Rise Fire Tragedy Result of Environmentalist Regulation

 

The highrise in London which recently burned, killing many was so devastating because it was recently clad with exterior insulation material to make it more energy-efficient.

The fire started in a lower-floor kitchen and rapidly spread up the entire building due to a “chimney effect” caused by the cladding.

Insulation keeps heat in. Basically, they converted the building into a giant kiln.

Jeremy Corbyn blames cuts to local council funding for the tragedy, but this cladding was part of a multimillion-dollar renovation.

About 30,000 other buildings around Britain have also been covered with this insulating cladding.

Environmentalism kills.

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  1. Arahant Member

    Misthiocracy: Environmentalism Kills.

    Yep. Tell all those folks who died of or suffered from malaria while DDT was banned or harder to get due to environmentalists.

    • #1
    • June 15, 2017, at 9:58 AM PDT
    • 19 likes
  2. PHenry Member

    Arrgh, I wondered how this could have gotten so bad so fast that so few could get out, and had heard that it might be due to the ‘cladding’ going up. I thought it just just a facelift kind of thing, a new facade. Now it begins to make sense…

    • #2
    • June 15, 2017, at 9:58 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Judge Mental Member

    This starts to make sense. I had been wondering if it was old. I used to live in those types of buildings, but in those the floor and ceiling are concrete and every apartment is firewalled, so I couldn’t figure out how it could spread that way unless it’s differently constructed.

    • #3
    • June 15, 2017, at 10:08 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    The Guardian has an article on this which despite its start when one “expert” refers to “the government’s mania for deregulation”, the truth can be find later in the piece:

    Dr Jim Glocking, technical director of the Fire Protection Association (FPA), thinks our standards need a fundamental overhaul. He says he has been campaigning for years to see fire safety standards improved, to no avail.

    “We have been very concerned about the introduction of highly combustible products into buildings,” he says. “They are often being introduced on the back of the sustainability agenda, but it’s sometimes being done recklessly without due consideration to the consequences. It’s not uncommon for buildings to have blocks of polystyrene up to 30cm deep on the outside, which is an extraordinary quantity of combustible material to be sticking on to a building. There are often ventilation voids between the rainscreen cladding and the insulation to prevent damp, but this also increases the spread of flames.”

    • #4
    • June 15, 2017, at 10:16 AM PDT
    • 20 likes
  5. Doug Watt Moderator

    What a brilliant idea, covering a building in a flammable sheath. All change is not necessarily progress.

    • #5
    • June 15, 2017, at 10:19 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  6. Seawriter Contributor

    Environmentalism is a pagan religion. A lot of them (not Roman paganism, but certainly Carthaginian and Western Asian ones) required human sacrifice to propitiate the gods. Through that lens, those that died are burnt offerings.

    Seawriter

    • #6
    • June 15, 2017, at 10:24 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  7. Arahant Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Environmentalism is a pagan religion. A lot of them (not Roman paganism, but certainly Carthaginian and Western Asian ones) required human sacrifice to propitiate the gods. Through that lens, those that died are burnt offerings.

    Seawriter

    Too soon.

    • #7
    • June 15, 2017, at 10:25 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):
    The Guardian has an article on this which despite its start when one “expert” refers to “the government’s mania for deregulation”, the truth can be find later in the piece:

    Dr Jim Glocking, technical director of the Fire Protection Association (FPA), thinks our standards need a fundamental overhaul. He says he has been campaigning for years to see fire safety standards improved, to no avail.

    “We have been very concerned about the introduction of highly combustible products into buildings,” he says. “They are often being introduced on the back of the sustainability agenda, but it’s sometimes being done recklessly without due consideration to the consequences. It’s not uncommon for buildings to have blocks of polystyrene up to 30cm deep on the outside, which is an extraordinary quantity of combustible material to be sticking on to a building. There are often ventilation voids between the rainscreen cladding and the insulation to prevent damp, but this also increases the spread of flames.”

    I don’t think they were using polystyrene, but there was about a 2 inch gap between the insulation and the cladding, and the cladding itself is flammable.

    That is nothing short of insane.

    • #8
    • June 15, 2017, at 10:25 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  9. MarciN Member

    Misthiocracy: About 30,000 other buildings around Britain have also been covered with this insulating cladding.

    Yup.

    This is an international disaster.

    A similar problem has arisen in the Middle East.

    The next big crisis may be mercury poisoning from the light bulbs the environmentalists have strewn about the civilized world. Mercury penetrates soft tissue. That’s why pharmacists used to use it to get iodine into wounds.

    • #9
    • June 15, 2017, at 10:30 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Doug Watt Moderator

    What’s next I wonder, wood stoves that are actually made of pressboard.

    • #10
    • June 15, 2017, at 10:32 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  11. Seawriter Contributor

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Environmentalism is a pagan religion. A lot of them (not Roman paganism, but certainly Carthaginian and Western Asian ones) required human sacrifice to propitiate the gods. Through that lens, those that died are burnt offerings.

    Seawriter

    Too soon.

    Nope. Too late. At least for those sacrificed on the altar of environmentalism. And if the point I made is not made early, and forcefully, and often, more people are going to die.

    Seawriter

    • #11
    • June 15, 2017, at 10:47 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  12. Seawriter Contributor

    Percival (View Comment):
    I don’t think they were using polystyrene, but there was about a 2 inch gap between the insulation and the cladding, and the cladding itself is flammable.

    The cladding is a thickness of polystyrene foam between two sheets of steel. I believe the two inch gap is what is between the wall of the building and the inner layer of metal to allow ventilation to keep moisture from accumulating.

    Seawriter

    • #12
    • June 15, 2017, at 10:49 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. ctlaw Coolidge

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Mercury is also the only chemical that crosses the blood brain barrier.

    Not by a long shot. Let’s start with ethanol. ;-)

    • #13
    • June 15, 2017, at 11:00 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  14. ctlaw Coolidge

    What was the carbon footprint of the fire?

    How much NOx, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and other real pollutants did it dump into the atmosphere?

    • #14
    • June 15, 2017, at 11:08 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  15. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Mis,

    Environmentalism attempts to make engineering/energy issues into moral issues. Engineering choices just involve physical results that involve trade-offs. Thus a virulent ideology is produced. The ideology fixed narrowly on producing its specific result ignores the reality. Often the gain is trivial while the side effect is extremely dangerous.

    Finally, and perhaps worst of all, the ideologues refuse to admit the error.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #15
    • June 15, 2017, at 11:15 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  16. The Reticulator Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy: Environmentalism Kills.

    Yep. Tell all those folks who died of or suffered from malaria while DDT was banned or harder to get due to environmentalists.

    It’s always interesting when the environmental freaks (of which I am one) are at odds with the safety freaks, especially in those cases where they are one and the same persons.

    I’m glad DDT use is greatly restricted now. Malaria has been pretty much eradicated from my part of the world, too.

    • #16
    • June 15, 2017, at 11:24 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Jules PA Member

    Don’t worry. Call Bill Nye.

    • #17
    • June 15, 2017, at 11:35 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy: Environmentalism Kills.

    Yep. Tell all those folks who died of or suffered from malaria while DDT was banned or harder to get due to environmentalists.

    It’s always interesting when the environmental freaks (of which I am one) are at odds with the safety freaks, especially in those cases where they are one and the same persons.

    I’m glad DDT use is greatly restricted now. Malaria has been pretty much eradicated from my part of the world, too.

    As someone who had both environmental and safety responsibilities I know what you mean.

    • #18
    • June 15, 2017, at 11:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. MarciN Member

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Mercury is also the only chemical that crosses the blood brain barrier.

    Not by a long shot. Let’s start with ethanol. ?

    OK. Right. Sorry.

    It is the only pure element that crosses the blood brain barrier. That would be correct, I think. I read a long article years ago in the Atlantic Monthly about a researcher at Dartmouth who was studying this, and she suffered brain damage just from contact with pure mercury. As I think about it, the article said it was the only element that did.

    I cannot find the article. Sigh.

    • #19
    • June 15, 2017, at 1:43 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Snirtler Member

    Gumby Mark (View Comment):

    The Guardian has an article on this which despite its start when one “expert” refers to “the government’s mania for deregulation”, the truth can be find later in the piece:

    Dr Jim Glocking, technical director of the Fire Protection Association (FPA), thinks our standards need a fundamental overhaul. He says he has been campaigning for years to see fire safety standards improved, to no avail.

    “We have been very concerned about the introduction of highly combustible products into buildings,” he says. They are often being introduced on the back of the sustainability agenda, but it’s sometimes being done recklessly without due consideration to the consequences.

    Good catch.

    • #20
    • June 15, 2017, at 2:38 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    I would love to hear the Prince of Wales weigh in on this. However, I’m certain I’ll only hear crickets.

    • #21
    • June 15, 2017, at 2:41 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  22. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Well said.

    • #22
    • June 15, 2017, at 3:22 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. Lois Lane Coolidge

    I heard an NPR thing on this yesterday but they didn’t talk about cladding. Instead they talked about how tenants had complained about safety to what sounded like uncaring landlords for years. I had a picture in my mind of an old slum of some sort… interesting that this was the issue.

    • #23
    • June 15, 2017, at 3:23 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  24. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I heard an NPR thing on this yesterday but they didn’t talk about cladding. Instead they talked about how tenants had complained about safety to what sounded like uncaring landlords for years. I had a picture in my mind of an old slum of some sort… interesting that this was the issue.

    Not shocking since it’s NPR.

    • #24
    • June 15, 2017, at 3:24 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  25. ZStone Inactive

    Perfect illustration of the unintended consequences of a policy prescription motivated by “science”. It would seem that most of the people in charge don’t understand the concept of “higher order effects”, or at least don’t acknowledge that they exist. I wonder what the environmental impacts are of the aerosolized particulates and the extra atmospheric CO2 that are a direct result of this burning building. In principle, a cost benefit analysis could be conducted comparing the expected gains from the renovations to the increased risk of the building burning down.

    • #25
    • June 15, 2017, at 3:27 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  26. ZStone Inactive

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I heard an NPR thing on this yesterday but they didn’t talk about cladding. Instead they talked about how tenants had complained about safety to what sounded like uncaring landlords for years. I had a picture in my mind of an old slum of some sort… interesting that this was the issue.

    Check out this story from Oakland, CA. What they do not mention is that the hallways of the building were filled with discarded mattresses and piles of clothing (read: tinder). Now the tenants of the halfway house are suing the owners for “slum like living conditions”… that they themselves are in large part responsible for.

    The residents sued building owner Keith Kim and his limited partnership Mead Avenue Housing Associates, and nonprofits Urojas Community Services, House of Change and Dignity Housing West primarily claiming punitive damages over “oppression,” which is defined by “despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights, according to the lawsuit.

    Each plaintiff is asking for more than $125,000 in damages.

    • #26
    • June 15, 2017, at 3:31 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Ekosj Member

    You can find the original proposal to refurbish the building here:

    https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/idoxWAM/doc/Other-952368.pdf?extension=.pdf&id=952368&location=VOLUME2&contentType=application/pdf&pageCount=1

    It makes it clear that:

    “The aim of this report is to identify how, as part of the Grenfell
    Tower refurbishment scheme, the current energy and
    environmental comfort problems can be addressed, and how the
    chosen solutions sit within the London Plan’s aim to bring
    existing housing stock up to the Mayor’s standards on
    sustainable design and construction.
    The poor insulation levels and air tightness of both the walls and
    the windows at Grenfell Tower result in excessive heat loss
    during the winter months. Addressing this issue is the primary
    driver behind the refurbishment.”

    • #27
    • June 15, 2017, at 3:35 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  28. Steve C. Member

    As much as I’m tempted to jump on the “it’s all the green weenies fault”, I’ll hold off.

    According to what I read, YMMV, the building passed the most recent fire inspection. Granted, that might mean nothing. The standards might originate around the time of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. I was surprised to read there was no sprinkler system. Or, as is not uncommon in some cities, the fire inspection was pencil whipped.

    In spite of my lack of science credentials, while the idea of the cladding and the chimney effect sounds perfectly logical, I do know fires act strangely and often surprise professionals while actually fighting fires.

    My default is to be suspicious of government. There’s been allegations from a tenant organization about faulty alarms and other problems well before the fire. And we all know governments are inclined to skimp on basic facility maintenance.

    But this is such a horrible tragedy, I’m willing to wait for the professionals to investigate.

    • #28
    • June 15, 2017, at 3:36 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  29. Percival Thatcher
    Percival Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    ZStone (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):

    I heard an NPR thing on this yesterday but they didn’t talk about cladding. Instead they talked about how tenants had complained about safety to what sounded like uncaring landlords for years. I had a picture in my mind of an old slum of some sort… interesting that this was the issue.

    Check out this story. What they do not mention is that the hallways of the building were filled with discarded mattresses and piles of clothing. Now the tenants of the halfway house are suing the owners for “slum like living conditions”… that they themselves are in large part responsible for.

    The residents sued building owner Keith Kim and his limited partnership Mead Avenue Housing Associates, and nonprofits Urojas Community Services, House of Change and Dignity Housing West primarily claiming punitive damages over “oppression,” which is defined by “despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights, according to the lawsuit.

    Each plaintiff is asking for more than $125,000 in damages.

    The hallways of the building could have impeded the firefighting, but discarded mattresses aren’t why the walls of the building on the outside were burning.

    News photographers are all looking for the dramatic shot, so they usually shoot something as big as a burning building for a panoramic shot, but if you look at the panels underneath the windows, they look like charcoal.

    • #29
    • June 15, 2017, at 3:47 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. ZStone Inactive

    Percival (View Comment):
    The hallways of the building could have impeded the firefighting, but discarded mattresses aren’t why the walls of the building on the outside were burning.

    Sorry, I should have been clearer— my comment was with reference to a building that burned down recently in Oakland, CA. Mind you, this is the second big fire with loss of human life in the last year in Oakland (the other is the infamous Ghost Ship fire). In both cases, the tenants created a death trap by leaving garbage, furniture, etc. lying around.

    • #30
    • June 15, 2017, at 3:51 PM PDT
    • 2 likes

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