UK: All samples from high-rise towers fail fire safety tests

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UK: All samples from high-rise towers fail fire safety tests

Twenty seven high-rise residential towers in 15 council areas in England have failed fire cladding safety tests, the government said on Saturday.

LONDON - The list of high-rise apartment towers in Britain that have failed fire safety tests grew to 60, officials said Sunday, revealing the mounting challenge the government faces in the aftermath of London's Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

All 60 high-rise buildings that have been tested so far for fire-resistant cladding have failed, a United Kingdom government spokesman told CNN on Sunday.

Camden Council Labour leader Georgia Gould said that fire service could not guarantee residents' safety on those blocks.

While many people have been able to stay in their homes despite the fire risk, thousands of residents from 650 flats in north London were evacuated on Saturday.

Over 100 people were evacuated late on Friday from buildings in Camden.

In north London, officials trying to avoid another fire disaster sought to complete the evacuation of hundreds of apartments in four towers deemed unsafe.

And Simon Taylor, who has fitted cladding to 25 local authority tower blocks, told the Telegraph that the cost for each building would be around £1m.

Mr Javid praised the "calm and stoicism" residents showed when asked to leave their homes at short notice on Friday, in what he called a "distressing experience". But some residents are refusing to move, because they've got nowhere to go.

"It was farcical communication", 21-year-old Daniel Tackaberry told Reuters outside a nearby sports centre where the local council had laid out air beds. Fourteen apartment blocks have so far tested positive for combustible materials.

She said: "At the end of today, they told us they could not guarantee our residents' safety in those blocks and so I have made the really really hard decision to move the people living there into temporary accommodation while we do the urgent works to guarantee safety".

"We are following the process as set out by DCLG for sample testing of buildings with ACM cladding", a spokeswoman said.

The council said it could take two to four weeks for the four blocks to be made safe. "It is therefore very important for local authorities and housing associations to continue to submit such samples as a matter of urgency", the minister said.

Greater Manchester Fire Service said its fire risk audit of the site concluded the building "is safe for all residents".

The cladding on the buildings is similar to that of west London's Grenfell Tower, where at least 79 people died last week when a fridge-freezer sparked a blaze that consumed the building and the covering was blamed for accelerating the spread of the fire.

The cladding has since failed all safety checks and prompted a nationwide review of the materials used on everything from hospitals to hotels and apartment blocks. To encourage cooperation with authorities, May said the government won't penalize any Grenfell fire survivors who were in the country illegally. One tribute, from a firefighter in the Kensington and Chelsea borough read: "20th floor, we tried. we're sorry".

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