Kensington blaze tower recently underwent £9 million refurbishment

Nearly nine million pounds was recently spent redeveloping a Kensington tower block engulfed by fire overnight.

London Fire Brigade report ‘a number of fatalities’ with more than 50 people also taken to hospital after the blaze at Grenfell Tower in north Kensington.

Rydon was commissioned by Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, who manage the 24-storey block on behalf of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and delivered a variety of upgrades in a 66 week project.

They completed a number of improvements, including the installation of rain screen cladding, thermal insulation and modernising the exterior of the building.

Lower floor space was remodelled to incorporate new homes and a completely new heating system was installed.

Work was completed last summer, with Nick Paget-Brown, the leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, visiting the site in May.

A press release on their website quotes him as saying: “It is remarkable to see first-hand how the cladding has lifted the external appearance of the tower and how the improvements inside people’s homes will make a big difference to their day-to-day lives.”

While the cause of the fire remains unknown and there is no suggestion improvements contributed to the blaze, a local action group have claimed the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower could have been prevented had their concerns about safety been listened to.

Grenfell Action Group have been raising concerns about the 24-storey residential block, which was completed in 1974, for the past four years.

In 2013 they claimed that residents had woken to smoke issuing from various electrical appliances in their homes, including the light fixtures.

Read more: First deaths confirmed in Kensington fire blaze

In a series of blog posts they chronicle their concerns about healthy and safety in the block. They have repeatedly claimed the recently refurbished tower, which is home to hundreds of people in 150 units, would not be able to cope with a major incident.

“All our warnings fell on deaf ear and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time,” wrote the group in a post on their website.

London Fire Brigade Dany Cotton confirmed the scale of the incident was unprecedented in her 29 year experience as a firefighter. She confirmed a number of fatalities, while London Ambulance Service said over 50 people have been taken to hospital.

Mr Paget-Brown refused to be drawn on the cause of the fire, saying his immediate priority was looking after those affected by the blaze.

“It’s clearly an absolutely devastating fire and the emergency services and council support offices have been here for a number of hours trying to establish if they are people still in the building,” he said.

“We’ve set up emergency centres nearby, where people have been evacuated too and we are doing as much as we can for them.”

Anyone concerned about a loved one should contact Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233 or 0207 158 0197.

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