Grenfell Fire Update: Cladding in 60 high-rise tower blocks in England fail fire tests

Grenfell Fire Update: Cladding in 60 high-rise tower blocks in England fail fire tests
Chalcots Estate Alastair Grant/AP
Chalcots Estate Alastair Grant/AP

The U.K. government has announced that material used to cover insulation on 60 different buildings throughout England failed fire-safety tests, according to the BBC. That number represents a significant increase even from Saturday, when the Guardian reported that 27 high rises failed to meet fire-safety standards.

The Department for Communities and Local Government announced the failed tests as part of a nationwide initiative to identify buildings with similar building materials used to build Grenfell Tower, where a fire may have killed up to 79 people. On Friday, authorities announced that a refrigerator or freezer probably started the blaze.

Aluminum cladding with a plastic core is thought to have helped the deadly fire spread, the Guardian reported.

The failed tests come days after residents of five London tower blocks in the Chalcots estate were asked to evacuate their homes for concern over safety.

Despite orders to evacuate to keep people safe, 83 people still refuse to leave their homes, according to the BBC. Camden Council Labour leader Georgia Gould said that fire service could not guarantee residents' safety on those blocks.

"I know it's difficult, but Grenfell changes everything, and I just don't believe we can take any risk with our residents' safety and I have to put them first," Gould said, according to the BBC.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould
Camden Council leader Georgia Gould Alastair Grant/AP

Gould originally offered to pay fire stations to sit outside of the blocks for a few days as work was done on the buildings, but she says they said there was "absolutely nothing" she could do to make those blocks safe at night. She said fire services would handle people unwilling to leave their homes.

The Chalcots estate was refurbished between 2006 and 2009 by Rydon, the same firm that oversaw work on Grenfell Tower in 2015 and 2016.

Camden Council plans to remove external cladding on towers in Chalcots estate. The council also has concerns about gas pipe insulation and fire doors.

Residents of one tower, Bashford, were allowed to return to their homes on Saturday because the tower had "several different design elements," according to the BBC.

June 25, 2017, 1:16 p.m.: This article has been updated.