The residents of a west London tower block which was set ablaze this morning, causing at least six fatalities, voiced fears less than a year ago that a disaster was imminent.
The Grenfell Action Group, which represented residents of Grenfell Tower on the Lancaster West Estate in north Kensington, wrote in a blog post that the “ineptitude” of its landlord was endangering life.
The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), a private company, manages the building.
The blog post read:
It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.
Authorities have yet to confirm how many people have died in the fire, but residents reported hearing screaming from trapped neighbours and seeing some jump from their balconies.
Grenfell's action group also stated that the KCTMO “narrowly averted a major fire disaster at Grenfell Tower in 2013, when residents experienced a period of terrifying power surges that were subsequently found to have been caused by faulty wiring".
It also criticised the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) for its inaction over their concerns.
RBKC and KCTMO have declined to comment on the incident as of yet.
However, RBKC said in a statement that “Local Authority Liaison Officers are working directly with emergency services at the scene” and that “at present all our focus is on supporting the rescue and relief operation”.
It assured that the cause of the fire would be fully investigated.
London Assembly member for Kensington and Chelsea Tony Devenish said "rightly questions are already being asked about the safety measures in place to prevent this kind of tragedy", and added that he would be "seeking answers" to these questions.
Yet this will come too late for many of the residents, and is what the Grenfell Action Group feared.
It wrote that “only an incident that results in a serious loss of life of KCTMO residents will allow the external scrutiny to occur that will shine a light” on the practices of the organisation.
KCTMO manages a number of properties in the borough, and eight of the fifteen members on its board are residents.