LONDON – A local London council has decided to evacuate some 800 households in apartment buildings it owns because of safety concerns following the devastating fire that killed 79 people in a west London high-rise.
The move comes amid escalating concerns among residents of thousands of tower blocks around Britain. The Camden Council is the first to take such a dramatic step in light of June 14 fire at Grenfell Tower.
Council leader Georgia Gould says the borough made the decision to empty the buildings after the London Fire Brigade and council experts had conducted a joint inspection of the properties.
“Camden Council is absolutely determined to ensure that our residents are safe and we have promised them that we will work with them, continue to act swiftly and be open and transparent,” Gould said in a statement.
British Prime Minister Theresa May offered a message of sympathy to the affected residents, taking to Twitter to pledge she would work with relevant authorities to offer support.
“My thoughts are with residents being evacuated in Camden while their homes are made safe tonight,” she said.
The council is encouraging residents to stay with friends and family, but promised to provide temporary accommodations, if that weren’t possible. Repairs on the building are expected to be completed within three to four weeks.