Comment: Action needed in Edinburgh after Grenfell tragedy

The Grenfell Tower tragedy has turned the focus on fire safety at highrise blocks across the UK
The Grenfell Tower tragedy has turned the focus on fire safety at highrise blocks across the UK
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The terrible tragedy at Grenfell Towers has changed how we all see the world.

The investigation into the causes of the devastating fire is on-going and until it is complete all the lessons that we can learn from it won’t be clear. Some of the key facts though are widely agreed.

The use of flamable cladding on the outside of the building - of a type banned in the UK - meant the fire spread far further and faster than it would otherwise have done. As a result, there was no way that the firefighters on the scene could have predicted how the fire would spread causing such devastation.

Senior firefighters believe that sprinklers in the flats would have probably snuffed out the fire at source. Modern building standards mean that if Grenfell Tower and high rise flats across Edinburgh were built today they would have to be fitted with sprinklers. The fact that the city’s towerblocks are not is down to an accident of timing.

After 14 elderly residents died in an aviodable fatal fire at the Rosepark care home, in Uddingston, in 2004, the law was changed to ensure all new care homes, sheltered housing and high rise flats had sprinklers.

The need to retro-fit them in older high rise flats and care homes now seems unavoidable.