Five London tower blocks evacuated due to fire safety concerns
Leaving on foot, some with suitcases and bags, hundreds made their way to the nearby Swiss Cottage library to be allocated a hotel for the night after the council block-booked rooms across London. Photograph: (AFP)
Over a week after the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, five London tower blocks were evacuated late Friday due to fire safety concerns.
Fire inspectors warned that the towers to were unsafe to spend another night in.
Residents packed their bags and left following a snap decision by the Camden Council local authority, a few hours before midnight Friday.
All five buildings have exterior cladding and insulation similar to that used on Grenfell Tower, installed by the same contractor in 2006.
Leaving on foot, some with suitcases and bags, hundreds made their way to the nearby Swiss Cottage Library to be allocated a hotel for the night after the council block-booked rooms across London.
The Council encouraged residents to stay with their family and friends but said they would provide accommodation for those in need.
Evacuated residents could be spending up to four weeks living in hotels while the cladding is removed from outside the 800-odd flats.
Residents will be allowed in at the weekend to collect more possessions under escort from the fire brigade.
Mother-of-three Adelina, who lives in the estate's Burnham tower, said: "I am in shock and I don't believe it."
But she added: "I think it's the right thing to do if it's health and safety. I'd rather be safe."
Ahmed Mohamed, 19, who lives in the Taplow tower with his parents and two sisters, said they were alerted by a neighbour.
"It was a mess. We only had five minutes to get our stuff.
"I don't think this is the right thing to do, I feel safe here and I don't think there's any threat to our building.
"I don't know why they're telling us to evacuate 800 homes right now. We could've packed our stuff nicely and they would've had time to rehouse people."
At least 79 people are known to have died in the Grenfell Tower fire.