#Grenfell: was the main gas-valve concreted over?

grenfell burning

One of the most puzzling and worrying aspects of the terrible Grenfell Tower fire was the rapid spread of the fire through the building from the burning exterior cladding. Residents have pointed fingers at the exposed gas pipes running up the stairwell as a possible contributory factor:

grenfell pipes.png

New information provided to the SKWAWKBOX may be significant in explaining how rapidly the fire spread and how long and hard firefighters had to battle to put out the blaze.

Local residents insist that they have been told, by gas engineers contracted to maintain gas infrastructure at the blocks owned by the KCTMO (Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation), that firefighters found the main gas entry valve to the block, which they would have expected to use to isolate the building from the main gas supply, concreted over and inaccessible.

Who might have been responsible for such a measure or why it might be done was not known, but the gas engineers insist it was not done by their company.

It is already a matter of record that firefighters were impeded in their attempts to access the building by parked cars and bollards. If the valve was inaccessible, this would have cost vital additional time to reach, giving the fire a ready and highly-flammable fuel supply.

London Fire Brigade did not deny that the valve had been concreted when the SKWAWKBOX called to ask whether the reports were accurate, but instead asked to receive the question by email and then responded:

Due to the ongoing police investigation we are unable to respond to this query.

The Metropolitan Police responded similarly but, remarkably, suggested that confirmation might be available elsewhere.

It must be stressed that these reports are therefore currently unconfirmed – but if accurate they would go a long way toward explaining the ferocity of the blaze and its rapid spread. If you have information that may shed further light on this matter, do get in touch.

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  1. When I first saw the fire it was obvious that the gas running up the stairwell was a major factor for the speed the fire spread !

  2. A couple of weeks ago, I was told that by a friend who knows someone working for K&C. There should be a map layer which would show where the gas valve is. It is outrageous that LFB did not turn off the gas for a wider area to give the people on the upper floors a chance. They only did this hours later.

    It is clear that a large explosion blew out the windows on one side on the 15th floor, and probably made the stairs impassable.

  3. A timeline worth reading from soon after the Grenfell fire.


    Alan Dransfield has constantly been in touch with his own MP Ben Bradshaw concerning a PFI constructed climbing centre on Exeter Quay. I believe he has evidence of an inaccessible emergency gas shut-down valve to this building, which could NOT be turned off in the event of a fire.

    How many of these are there across the country?

    Who is doing the inspections and signing them off?

  4. I have also heard that holes were cut between flats to allow access for gas pipes. And that the other 4 tower blocks had to be evacuated because they could not access gas supplies which, was caused by “a complicated system under Grenfell tower”
    No one in corporate media is asking “What happened at Grenfell tower” Lammy has been particularly active “CLADDING CLADDING CLADDING” and the suspicious actions of Camden council. Evacuation because of “Cladding” NO not at all. Because of lack of safety checks on fire doors and pipes accessing flats. Khan equally as evasive. Weeks before site was secured as a crime scene, Met police published pictures of “exhausted” teams having to climb stairs. Now advertising for specialist forensic investigators on 6 month contracts to collect evidence and write reports.
    10 out of 225 survivors have come forward to give evidence. 10????
    Video evidence shows that firefighters could not extinguish the “plastic” fuelled fire. Water did absolutely nothing this is unconscionable. The debris looks nothing like a yellow flamed plastic fire. It explodes in mid air, bursts of white flame, white smoke?? On hitting the ground the debris bursts into white explosive balls of flame. This simply would not happen if the fuel was plastic.
    Why are there no walls in the pictures released from inside the flats? Appliances in the middle of the room. A bathroom with no walls. One even shows any appliance flaming from inside its door. It’s not the cooker.
    What and who are the red boiler suited men who accessed the block, VALCON on their suits, on the roof, in the flats, hitting surfaces with lengths of wood, taking pictures.
    This stinks of a cover up.

    1. The reason for the “no walls” is that the heat would have caused the plasterboard to fail. On one shot of the walls large “blobs” can be seen, this means the plasterboard was polystyrene backed and affixed with “cement” (an adhesive), the insulating polyisocyanurate backing would have melted causing the plasterboard to fall away from the walls and then it, the backing, would have burned or would already have been alight from the bottom up behind the plasterboard. I wonder if anyone will look into the suitability of polyisocyanurate backed insulating plasterboard… the fact that it is allowed and is ubiquitous in the industry for new build and referbs of all types of buildings from flats to houses (its much quicker to install than battening and/or infilling with rockwool as it only needs a few random splodges of glue/”cement” to fix) just seems stupid. Furniture must adhere to strict combustibility rules, yet highly flammable (and noxious gas producing) polyisocyanurate is used everywhere in massive quantities behind plasterboard to save on building costs/construction time (no battening required, easy to straight line adjust, no need to base plaster before scrim coat – useful against solid walls or as an extra layer of insulation).

      1. I do not believe any internal plaster board would be used internally. I’ve lived in three council 1970’s towers in London over 25yrs. All internal walls are solid hard concrete. No breeze blocks or plaster board walls anywhere. I’m curious about the missing walls. That should not have burnt. And the missing walls behind appliances in one shot. The one with the exercise bike.
        Another fire today in Dubai, same tower as before. No internal damage. No casualties.
        Another query is on all the videos I’ve seen at the scene. Only one woman carrying a baby is seen escaping from the building. Has anyone seen any evidence of 250 survivors leaving?

  5. What the fire service and police are telling you to do is go and look at the city plans, it will tell you where all the electrical ductwork and pipe work for water waste, drainage, supply and Gas pipes, it will also tell you where all the vavles are. Then all you need to do once you have a copy of the plans, is go and look. All information can be found out if your willing to get off the computer and do it the old fashion way back to books.

    1. Maybe. But the site is currently still out of bounds, so going to look is not an option. And if it wasn’t concreted in, they could say so without worrying about the investigation

  6. 9 months post fire and the LFB still not produced the Interim Fire Report.They advised me on the 8th Mar they had not completed the IFR and would not publish one anyway owing to the criminal implications. It is apparent the internal walls were dot and dab plasterboard and we have learnt the doors were 15 min fire rated and the Emergency shut down vales on the gas main was concreted over. The internal gas main was also HDPE and should have been steel. This fire was foreseeable and preventable and so were the deaths. It stinks of a coverup and even the Firemens Union Gen Sec Matt Wrack has turned a blind eye to the INTERIM FIRE REPORT DEBACLE.

    1. Did you say the internal walls were “dot and dab plasterboard”? Do you mean the internet walls in the flats were covered in plaster board?
      I lived in a council high rise flats in London for twenty years. I have never seen one that 1) had plaster board on the walls 2) didn’t have solid concrete walls.
      I was astonished to see internal photographs of Grenfell that showed kitchen appliances in the middle of vast open spaces, no walls behind them. Bathroom fixtures again with no walls around them. Floors littered with, what looked like plaster board. Totally exposed steel plumbing. It all looked very unreal and disturbing.
      Video of the burning tower shows, flames spreading between, what floor plans reveal to be, separate rooms in each flat?
      In many videos white smoke is seen bursting out of windows, no flames. In others the Aluminium window frames are on fire burning with yellow flames. I have never seen a fire like like it in a tower block?
      Sheets of cladding (as opposed to insulation) fall burning bright white, violently changing direct before hitting the ground and exploding into huge white fire balls.
      Early into the event firefighters hoses have no effect on the burning exterior. In fact they make the situation worse erupting into balls of white flames.
      The chimney effect so often referred to could only apply to the triangular columns along the face and corners of the building. Since each row of windows would have formed a viable fire break.
      In all the video footage I have seen I have only seen one woman carrying a baby leave the building. No footage of hundreds of evacuees.
      As for the reported babies being thrown from windows and being caught. All that has been quietly ignored.
      That guy, the one who appears on TV with his dog. Who said he wrote about the fire hazards. The guy who said it started in his flat then disappeared to Portugal. That black guy who caught the baby and burst out laughing and was consoled by Victoria Derbyshire. That rapper Peeky? The singer who said where are the people. The Asian woman with three different accounts of her story. What happened to all the money and donations the Red Cross collected. The piles of stuff uncollected. The repeated media mantra of CLADDING CLADDING CLADDING 24/7
      The un policed demonstrations.
      This whole thing stinks. Whole estate now uninhabited. No attempt to preserve evidence and secure crime scene.

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