interior evening

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Summer Sunset, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

I’ve been following the Grenfell Tower fire story since it broke, and honestly I still can’t quite put my thoughts in order. I cannot believe that something like this happened in London. I’ve long been fascinated by large fires and how they spread, and time and time again I found myself being infuriated by the blatant disregard for fire safety in buildings with high population/occupancy. I can’t tell you the amount of nightclubs I’ve read about who chained the fire escapes closed, or the amount of buildings insulated or painted with highly flammable materials because it was cheaper. there are countless examples of this and suddenly it’s happened right in my home city. I just can’t believe it.

this is murder or the poor. time and time again the residents drew attention to faults and dangers in the building. time and time again they mentioned fire risk, inadequate escape routes, faulty electronics. a local action group was even threatened with legal action for mentioning these things on an online blog. to top it all off, the flammable coating on the outside of the building was put there to improve the sight of the block for nearby luxury apartments. they coated that building in a fire trap because some rich residents in flats worth millions thought the flats were unsightly, and now 30 people are dead and 70 are missing, believed dead. austerity kills. capitalism literally kills.

to top it all off, the block had a “stay put” policy for fires. what the hell? from the moment you’re old enough to conceive what fire is, you’re told that if a building is on fire, you get out. yes, flats are “designed” to contain fires, but fire does not operate under consistent rules. the slightest variation in environment can cause fire to do things people would deem unlikely or even impossible. interior fire doors mean fuck all when all the windows are open on a hot summer night, and the outside of the building is coated in flammable material. those poor people should never have been told to stay put. by the time they realised the fire was that large, the hallways were so full of smoke even firefighters couldn’t reach them. I just cannot believe this happened. I cannot believe over 100 people might be dead in London’s richest borough, all because they’re low income and no one gave a shit about keeping their accommodation up to standard. I feel sick thinking about it.