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Fire Brigades Union raises concerns after Wembley cladding blaze: “Decades of deregulation have created unnecessary risks”


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Firefighters tackle major cladding fire in Wembley

On 29 January, a significant fire involving cladding broke out in Wembley, requiring the response of at least 125 firefighters and 20 fire engines.

The incident, which occurred in a block of flats in north-west London, has sparked serious concerns about the safety risks associated with flammable cladding.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, expressed grave concerns over the incident: “Firefighters have once again been called to cladding fire which could have resulted in tragedy.

“The Fire Brigades Union warned of the risks of flammable cladding many years before the terrible Grenfell Tower fire.

“Decades of deregulation have created unnecessary risks to residents and firefighters, and put homes and lives at risk.

“Government ministers and building companies have been criminally complacent.

“We will continue to demand justice for the victims of this situation, and urgent action to ensure that buildings are safe.”

Details of the Wembley fire incident

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) reported that all residents were accounted for following the blaze.

Videos from the scene showed the fire spreading between flats, with firefighters using aerial ladders to douse the flames of the four-storey building.

The emergency call to Elm Road, near Wembley Central Tube station, was made at 16:42 GMT, and the fire was declared under control by 22:01.

As a precaution, the neighbouring four-storey block on Elm Road was evacuated, and residents in the vicinity were advised to keep their doors and windows shut.

Firefighters from Wembley, Park Royal, Northolt, and surrounding stations were called to the scene.

Brent Council, in collaboration with the housing association Octavia, is working to support the affected residents.

Shelter for those displaced by the fire is being provided at St John the Evangelist Church.

The aftermath and investigation

An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway.

The incident has highlighted ongoing safety concerns regarding flammable cladding on residential buildings, echoing the issues raised during the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

IFSJ Comment

The incident at Wembley serves as a reminder of the persistent concerns regarding building safety, particularly in relation to flammable cladding.

The response of firefighters and emergency services to this challenging situation demonstrates their dedication and skill in protecting the public.

However, this event also underscores the need for continued vigilance and reform in building safety standards to prevent similar incidents in the future.

It is imperative that the lessons from past tragedies, such as Grenfell Tower, are heeded to ensure the safety of residents and emergency personnel alike.

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