A resident of a neighbouring block to the ill-fated Grenfell Tower spoke to the SKWAWKBOX today of a chilling incident nine years ago that potentially bears on the ‘TMO’ (Tenant Management Organisation), its attitude to safety and its attitude toward its tenants.
Whitstable House is a close neighbour of and almost a twin to Grenfell Tower. It is circled in yellow in the image below, while Grenfell is in red:
Like Grenfell House, it is run by KCTMO – Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation.
In 2008, 10-year-old Christian Castano was waving to his friends from the kitchen window of the 18th floor flat that he shared with his parents and younger brothers. As he waved, the bottom-opening window swung open and he fell out.
Christian clung to the ledge for a short time and his last words to his brother Steven, 8, were ‘I love you’, before his grip failed and he fell two hundred feet to his death:
Residents at the time claimed that the TMO had failed to repair the window, which should only have opened a couple of inches.
According to a Whitstable House resident, who will not be named, nine years later, the windows are as bad as they ever were.
She told the SKWAWKBOX:
The windows up and down this block are in a terrible state of disrepair. All the residents here have complained regularly to the TMO but nothing changes. I’ve had to put bolts into the frames of my windows to stop them opening at all, because they were so loose. Other flats are similar, or have faulty locks.
That little boy died after they’d been warned for years about the dangers and even that didn’t get them to do anything. If they can leave the windows dangerous all these years after something that terrible, what does that say about their attitude to safety over at Grenfell?
The SKWAWKBOX hopes that the Met’s criminal investigation – and the public inquiry that even the judge appointed to run it describes as ‘very narrow’ – will be wide enough to take evidence from the neighbouring blocks that bears on the standards and ethos of the organisation that ran not just Grenfell Tower but Whitstable and others in the area.
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