As soon as the morning news of this apparently inexcusable tragedy broke, surveyors here began digging, driven by professional interest. Soon – based on news reports and on publicly available information – we formed the view that many shortcomings had arisen; before long, other reports began to confirm our remote assessment.

This immediately suggests the question: if we, remotely, could deduce so much, why was the situation permitted that allowed the fire to spread in the way it did?

Many have died; hard and expensive lessons are being learned, and stable doors are being noisily bolted. It is perhaps the moment to remind readers of the terrifying power of fire, and its rapid spread in the wrong circumstances. Imperfect though fire precautions may be, they are not to be neglected, and we should always be careful; by not wedging fire doors open or removing self-closers, for instance. Check your smoke detectors regularly.

If you live in a flat, research the best practice, and perhaps it is now time to press for upgrades. Notify all perceived deficiencies to the landlord or its agents. It is regrettably impossible to cover the subject in a tiny blog, of course.

Finally… we express horror and sympathy for those afflicted, and without belittling any of the other parties who rushed to help, we take off our hats to the firefighters, who put themselves “in harm’s way”.

Gareth Evans – Senior Surveyor at Desbruslais Chartered Surveyors

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