This week, we all saw news of the horrifying fire in Grenfell Tower, and our thoughts are with all of those affected.
Now, increasingly worrying details are coming to light about the landlord, KCTMO.
A group of concerned residents, Grenfell Action Group, repeatedly warned KCTMO about inadequate fire safety precautions.
Worse still, a recent refurbishment added cladding to the outside of the building made of materials known to be a fire risk in high-rise buildings. The alternative fire-resistant version would have cost just £2 more per square metre.
A public inquiry has been launched -- but with KCTMO managing thousands of other properties, we can’t wait that long. KCTMO needs to tell us exactly why it failed to act on multiple warnings from their tenants.
Worryingly, this isn’t the first time a major incident has happened at a KCTMO property. Adair Tower in North Kensington suffered a serious fire in 2015. A deficiency notice was issued to the landlord last year by the London Fire Brigade after an audit at another property.
It’s not even the first time there has been a serious problem at Grenfell Tower -- in 2013 faulty wiring caused a series of dangerous power surges, leading to residents raising their fears.
Concerned residents also complained several times that the building had only one fire escape, no sprinkler system, and an ineffective alarm system.
However, it appears KCTMO didn’t take the residents' concerns or their responsibility seriously.
The residents of Grenfell Tower deserve better treatment than this. They raised these and many other fire safety issues to KCTMO -- but they don’t appear to have received anywhere near an appropriate response.
There are many questions to be asked over Grenfell Tower -- whether the cladding was added for aesthetic purposes or not, what the council’s responsibility is, and what role government deregulation of housing standards played.
But right now, the most pressing question is why KCTMO didn’t respond to concerns from residents. With CEO Robert Black denying responsibility and KCTMO in charge of thousands of other properties -- that’s thousands of other people’s homes and lives potentially at risk -- we don’t have time for a public enquiry.
Together we've stood up to corporations putting profits ahead of people's safety before. After the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed, hundreds of thousands of us forced several major clothing retailers to sign the Bangladesh Safety Accord, legally binding them to protect workers.
Now we need to force KCTMO to come clean -- it’s time that the truth was heard, before any further tragedies occur.