London fire: Tests show other high-rises have suspect panels

Tests so far have found that at least seven high-rise apartment buildings in England have combustible external panels like the ones believed to have contributed to a fire that killed 79 people in London, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said Thursday.

LONDON (AP) — Tests so far have found that at least seven high-rise apartment buildings in England have combustible external panels like the ones believed to have contributed to a fire that killed 79 people in London, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said Thursday.

Downing Street said 600 buildings in the country have “similar cladding” to that of Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, which was destroyed by the June 14 blaze.

The Department for Communities and Local Government later said that figure refers to buildings with all types of cladding and that not all of them necessarily have cladding made from the same aluminum composite material as Grenfell Tower. Landlords are being asked to check what the cladding on their buildings is made from.

The tests are being urgently conducted as authorities try to determine whether cladding contributed to the rapid spread of the Grenfell Tower blaze, which engulfed the 24-story building in less than an hour. They still haven’t said where and how the fire started.

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May told the House of Commons on Thursday that government facilities have found combustible cladding after local officials submitted samples in the wake of the fire.

“The relevant local authorities and local fire services have been informed, and, as I speak, they are taking all possible steps to ensure buildings are safe and to inform affected residents,” May said.

May encouraged the owners of both public and private tower blocks around the country to quickly forward samples of any similar material for testing. The government will work with local authorities to make sure any dangerous material is…

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