The horrifying blaze that overtook London‘s Grenfell Tower apartment building early on Wednesday morning, British time, was likely the result of flammable cladding installed during a refurbishment in 2015. Alarmingly, Australia is a big user of this kind of cladding.
The tragic outcome in London was a fire that spread incredibly rapidly on the outside of the building, trapping people on the building’s upper levels. There have been 17 confirmed deaths from the fire, and more than 60 people are in hospital.
According to the BBC, the cladding had a polyethylene (plastic) core, meaning it was much less fire-resistant that other types with mineral cores. Many witnesses describe seeing the cladding spreading the fire upwards, and falling away in flaming strips.
It’s raised serious concerns on home soil. According to an ongoing audit in Victoria, over 20 buildings in Melbourne contain the material.
And a 2015 inquiry by the NSW Shadow Minister for Better Regulation Yasmin Catley found that there are 2,500 buildings that are covered in the shoddy cladding in NSW alone.
Disturbingly, the state government has not revealed which buildings are affected.
Senator Nick Xenophon spoke to The Project about the issue, which is spread across Australia:
Xenophon is calling for a national audit, and Catley has urged the NSW government to do the same. She also wants the government to identify the buildings and put measures in place to prevent an avoidable tragedy like the one in London.
Source: The Project / SMH.
Image: Gurbuz Binici / Getty Images