UK finds 34 high-rise apartment buildings with unsafe siding

Camden council representatives talk as they help residents as they are evacuated from the Burnham residential tower block on the Chalcots Estate in the borough of Camden north London Friday

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said she "could not ask residents to stay in here for an extra night" due to safety concerns over gas insulation and cladding at the Chalcots Estate flats.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, the council then announced that one of the five - Blashford - did not need to be evacuated, and that residents could return.

Some refused to leave their apartments.

"I know some residents are angry and upset, but I want to be very clear that Camden Council acted to protect them", Gould said in a statement. Scores of evacuees slept on inflatable beds in a nearby gym while officials sought better accommodations for them.

Four high rises on the estate are thought to be covered with a similar type of cladding as that used at Grenfell Tower, five miles to the south west, where at least 79 people died in the June 14 tragedy. Public attention has focused on the external cladding material blamed for the rapid spread of that blaze - but now it appeared that multiple other fire risks have been identified in some blocks.

Britain's government now says cladding samples from 34 high-rise apartment towers across the country have failed fire safety tests.

Work had been due to begin on stripping cladding from buildings on the Chalcots Estate, but Camden Council ordered the "decant" of residents on Friday evening.

It said about 650 apartments were evacuated, though initial reports had said that as many as 800 were affected.

Mrs May said the Government was working with those in the Kensington and Chelsea area to ensure people who lost their homes following the blaze at Grenfell Tower were rehoused within three weeks and provided with financial support.

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Camden Borough Council says in a statement Saturday that it housed numerous residents at two temporary shelters while many others were provided hotel rooms.

Work completed on four Croydon tower blocks by the company which installed cladding on Grenfell Tower has been reviewed and declared safe by the council. "There's no organisation and it's chaos", she said.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn called for urgent checks on around 4,000 buildings as Britain comes to grips with the potential ramifications of the disaster.

A letter to families circulated by a social housing activism group reads: "Despite efforts to extend your stay...regrettably the hotel has stated that they do not have the availability to extend your booking". However the decision was later made to evacuate all five towers, causing confusion among the residents. Some said they learned about the evacuation on television news before officials came knocking on doors.

"I've sat in a chair over here since 9 o'clock last night, I'm 72 years old. We couldn't pack anything because we didn't know where we are going, but hopefully we will get back", she said as she stood outside Swiss Cottage Library, one of the emergency shelters in the shadow of the blocks. Other residents were distraught that they were ordered to evacuate but were told to leave their pets behind in buildings that could be risky.

Police said Friday they are considering filing manslaughter charges in the Grenfell disaster and they were conducting a wide-ranging investigation that will look at everything that contributed to it.

"Preliminary tests on the insulation samples from Grenfell Tower show that they combusted soon after the test started", Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said in a televised statement.

"When we decide to clad the building we would have drawn up a specification, at the time we would have gone through planning and had a conversation with building control in terms of what we wanted to do and out usual precautions in fire and health and safety concerns".

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