Residents evacuated from five London tower blocks over safety fears

Cladding has been removed from a building on the Chalcots Estate in north London after it was confirmed by the Government to have flammable facades. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
Cladding has been removed from a building on the Chalcots Estate in north London after it was confirmed by the Government to have flammable facades. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
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Residents from five council tower blocks in London have been evacuated over fire safety fears in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze.

Eight hundred households were evacuated in total, with some residents claiming they were only informed of the decision at 8.30pm on Friday evening.

Thousands of people may be living in potentially dangerous tower blocks after at least 11 buildings were revealed to have combustible cladding similar to that thought to have fuelled the Grenfell Tower fire. Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

Thousands of people may be living in potentially dangerous tower blocks after at least 11 buildings were revealed to have combustible cladding similar to that thought to have fuelled the Grenfell Tower fire. Picture: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said the buildings would be “temporarily decanted” to allow “urgent fire safety works” to take place.

The high-rise buildings on the Chalcots estate in Camden were being emptied after firefighters said they “could not guarantee our residents’ safety”, Gould said.

READ MORE: {Police confirm cause of Grenfell Tower fire|http://www.scotsman.com/news/police-confirm-cause-of-grenfell-tower-fire-1-4484465}

She told Sky that a rest centre had been set up and residents were being found hotels and other accommodation.

She added: “People are on the ground now talking to residents, working with them to move them to the rest centre. It is happening immediately.”

The council had already announced that it would immediately begin preparing to remove cladding from five towers on the estate discovered in checks following the fire in north Kensington which killed at least 79 people.

In a statement on Friday evening Ms Gould said firefighters and council officials had inspected the estate on Friday and said the buildings should be emptied.

Ms Gould said that it was expected the work would take three or four weeks, adding: “We realise that this is hugely distressing for everyone affected and we will be doing all we can, alongside the London Fire Brigade and other authorities, to support our residents at this difficult time.

“The Grenfell fire changes everything - we need to do everything we can to keep residents safe.”

It came as four more victims of Grenfell Tower were formally identified, taking the known victims of the fire to nine.

Scotland Yard also revealed manslaughter charges are being considered by detectives investigating the blaze in the tower in west London, which had failed fire safety tests.

Chalcots resident Shirley Philips told Sky she was given no notice before being told she must leave her home.

She said: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting. We’ve had the fire brigade all day, Camden Council, police.

“I had a fire safety check done today. Why have they left it til half past eight on Friday night to start getting residents out? Where do they think we’re all going?”

London mayor Sadiq Khan said he was in contact with the council and emergency services.

He said: “There is a particular set of circumstances on this estate that make this necessary, which has been identified following good work between Camden Council and the London Fire Brigade.

“Fire safety checks are ongoing at other estates across the UK.”