Residents refusing to evacuate Camden tower blocks told they 'must leave'


The revelation comes as more than 3,000 residents of the Chalcots Estate in Camden, north London, are facing weeks in temporary accommodation after four tower blocks were evacuated.

In north London, Camden Council ordered residents at Chalcots Estate to leave some 600 apartments late Friday as a precaution after fire inspectors found problems with the blocks' fire doors and gas pipes.

LONDON (AP) - The list of high-rise apartment towers in Britain that have failed fire safety tests grew to 60, officials said Sunday, revealing the mounting challenge the government faces in the aftermath of London's Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

The UK-wide fire safety alert on residential tower blocks have been triggered by the Grenfell Tower blaze on June 14, which resulted in at least 79 deaths and displaced hundreds.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said around 200 residents from 120 households were still refusing to leave their homes in four tower blocks evacuated in the Chalcots Estate in north London.

Police investigating the cause of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower blaze have said the fire started in a fridge but spread rapidly due to external cladding on the building, trapping residents in their beds as they slept.

On Friday some 4,000 residents were forced to evacuate their homes in north London after the fire brigade ruled that their blocks were unsafe.

The last residents refusing to leave tower blocks declared a fire hazard in London are being urged to evacuate their flats on Sunday amid warnings that work to make the buildings safe can not begin until they go.

However, scores of people have refused to leave the buildings, which fire officials say are "unsafe" to inhabit.

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Ms Gould said that, following checks, insulation was found to be safe but external cladding on the blocks "was not up to the standard that we wanted and was not fire retardant".

"I was bullied this morning trying to leave the building, he [the security guard] stood in front of the door and guys surrounded him and he said "we need to know who you are", she said.

According to the council: "Both have experienced serious fires in recent years and in both cases the fires were contained within individual flats and did not spread anywhere else, suggesting that the design of the building, the method of installing the cladding and the materials used, stood up to the fire and prevented its spread to other parts of the building".

Several local councils said they were removing cladding from the facades of buildings that had failed the tests.

The Liberal Democrats demanded the Government declare a civil emergency, create a fund to compensate those evacuated from their homes and guarantee anyone told to leave their properties they won't have to pay council tax until they return.

Residents are being told to go to the rest centre at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre where they can talk to council workers who will help them find temporary accommodation.

The tower blocks have not been evacuated while the work takes place.

The evacuation of hundreds of London public housing residents from their apartments rolled on Saturday as the fallout from Britain's deadliest fire in generations continued to intensify and turn into a full-blown crisis. "You can't play Russian roulette with people's safety", Khan told Sky News. The thing that makes me angry is that we watched the news, we tried to evacuate and they sent us back, they said they were only taking Taplow.