Questions From the Grenfell Tower Fire: Could it Happen in BC?

Published on: Jan/Feb 2018

The world looked on in horror as the Grenfell Tower fire in West London, England, claimed 71 lives and injured many more in June 2017. Several hundred occupants lived in the 129 social housing flats in the recently refurbished 24-storey building.

Similar cladding materials to the newly-installed aluminum composite panels on the outside of the Grenfell Tower are used widely in Canada, particularly in cities like Vancouver. How did this cladding contribute to the speed of the fire spreading and the severity of the damage? What regulations are in place here in British Columbia to prevent such a tragedy?

A public inquiry into the deadly inferno began in September 2017, tasked with uncovering “how a disaster of this kind could occur in 21st-century London,” said the judge overseeing the investigation. The enquiry is in its early days, but it is believed that the fire started in a fridge-freezer in a flat on the fourth floor and spread quickly. Factors such as the buildings’ design, construction, and materials, will be examined, and what, if any, fire protection measures were installed.

As tends to happen after a disaster,the fire has prompted Canadian engineers to re-examine local regulations to ensure they are robust.

Read the full story: Innovation magazine