London Fire Brigade 'liaised closely with Grenfell Tower management' during renovation

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London Fire Brigade was consulted over the Grenfell Tower refurbishment before the devastating blaze, previously unseen documents suggest.

There was “close liaison” between the brigade and the organisation the managed the building during the project, according to the BBC.

Firefighters were reportedly shown the “fire safety features of the building” after work was completed last summer, and before the fire that left at least 80 dead.

But LFB has since said it did not have the legal powers to inspect cladding or structural changes to buildings.

The refurbishment of the tower, which was overseen by Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), is an area being considered by the public inquiry into the tragedy.

During the £8.6 million renovation, new cladding with a flammable core was wrapped around the tower, along with combustible insulation.

A spokesman for LFB said: “We do not ‘sign off’ refurbishment and we only have legal powers to act where we see internal fire safety problems such as compromised fire doors and combustible materials on staircases.

“While firefighters regularly visit local buildings to familiarise themselves with the layout and the firefighting equipment such as hydrants, this is not the same as making a detailed inspection of a building refurbishment especially when many of the changes would sit outside of our powers.

“We are unable to confirm exactly what contact we had with the TMO regarding the tower because this is now subject to a public inquiry.”

It is suspected the combination of these materials helped aid the spread of the inferno, which engulfed the building within minutes.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said it could not confirm if it was consulted over the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, as any contact with KCTMO may form part of the public inquiry.

The probe, which is being led by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, will also examine the cause of the fire, actions of authorities before the blaze and the “adequacy” of building regulations, it was announced on Tuesday. 

The probe will examine the actions of authorities before the blaze, including Kensington and Chelsea Council, and how the aftermath was handled.

Sir Martin will also scrutinise the “adequacy” of building regulations, the recent refurbishment of the block and the causes of the fire.

The inquiry’s first hearing will be held on September 14, with an initial report delivered by Easter.

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