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Grenfell managers adopted ‘stay put’ policy for convenience rather than safety, survivor tells inquiry

GRENFELL Tower’s building managers adopted a “stay put” fire policy for convenience rather than safety, a survivor told the inquiry into the disaster today.

Edward Daffarn said he had repeatedly tried to get more clarity on what safety procedures were in place before the fire that destroyed the west London block of flats in June 2017.

Mr Daffarn, who founded Grenfell Action Group in frustration at the building managers’ failure to engage with residents, said he had been growing increasingly worried about the “stay put” plan.

He said he was concerned that there was no plan for evacuation in the event of a large-scale fire or explosion at the tower.

Mr Daffarn told the inquiry that the Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) did not explain how residents should act in situations requiring mass evacuation.

“It was just ‘stay put:’ that was their policy,” he said. “For me, the ‘stay put’ policy was never a satisfactory policy for the Grenfell Tower.

“It was a very convenient policy for the KCTMO because it meant they didn’t have to do anything.”

He had approached the London Fire Brigade for guidance in 2014. The response was that the local authority had confirmed that “Grenfell Tower is a “stay put’ policy.”

Mr Daffarn, who had lived on the 16th floor since 2001, blogged in November 2016 that “only a catastrophic event” resulting in serious loss of life would bring an end to the “dangerous living conditions” in the block.

He recalled that he had become concerned about fire safety in the spring of 2013 when residents began experiencing power surges that destroyed electrical appliances and filled flats with smoke.

The council covered up the cause of the power surges by refusing to share a report on the problem with residents, Mr Daffarn said.

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