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If the fire brigade had followed procedures Chalcots estate would not have been evacuated

05 July, 2018

• MARIAN Harrington’s report into the Chalcots evacuation misses one vital point, (Chalcots evacuation: Independent review slammed for ‘shifting blame from Camden Council to fire brigade’, June 28).

I was there right the way through the night and started asking about Article 31 (prohibition / restriction notice). If the fire brigade considers a building to be unsafe they serve Article 31 on the building owner.

The building owner (in this case Camden Council) has the right to appeal against Article 31 in the magistrates’ court.

I did not think that the London Fire Brigade staff on the night knew the legislation and seemed to think that they were doing everyone a favour by not serving Article 31. Voluntary evacuations do not work.

The important fact is that apparently a high ranking office of the LFB was consulted. Perhaps even the top officers did not know how to use this legislation.

What ought to have happened is that the brigade should have served Article 31 on the council and then left a couple of fire engines standing by.

Camden should have enlisted a fire specialist and worked though the weekend to put in interim measures to make the blocks safe.

On the Monday morning Camden, their specialist adviser and the LFB should have appeared before a court. The magistrates would have decided whether an evacuation was necessary.

If the fire brigade had followed procedures, I do not think that the blocks would have been evacuated.

Chamberlain Street, NW1


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