34 high-rise tower blocks across UK fail fire safety test

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Council leader Georgia Gould told Sky News she had to act after fire safety fears were raised over four tower blocks in Camden, north London.

The evacuation occurred after news emerged that similar cladding was used on the Chalcots Estate to that which spread the deadly fire in Kensington's Grenfell Tower earlier this month.

The evacuation comes amid widening worries about the safety of high-rise apartment blocks across Britain following the inferno that engulfed Grenfell Tower in west London on June 14, killing at least 79 people.

Although thousands of people have temporarily moved out at the urging of the council and the London Fire Brigade, about 20 households across four tower blocks are staying put.

From families with newborn babies to a Second World War veteran, residents of the Chalcots estate in Camden were ordered out of their homes after fire officers said they could not guarantee the safety of the buildings.

As the residents of four apartment blocks which were found to have the same aluminium cladding as that fitted to Grenfell Tower spent their third night in temporary accommodation, the local authority said it was unsafe for anyone to remain in the buildings.

Of the 17 local authorities with buildings that have failed fire safety tests following the Grenfell Tower blaze, eight have so far been named.

Yesterday the Gentoo Group, which runs the city's social housing, confirmed that five tower blocks in the St Peter's area of Sunderland - Church Street, Dock Street, Zetland, Victor and Dame Dorothy - were having decorative panels removed following the results of tests.

"It was perfectly safe before, despite what they are saying now - I believe I am safe in there".

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Flammable external cladding that is widely used to provide insulation and enhance the appearance of buildings has been identified as the culprit in the Grenfell disaster.

"This morning Council staff will conduct further door knocking to ask those who remain to leave and issue another letter reiterating to residents who are still remaining in the Taplow, Bray, Dorney and Burnham blocks that they must leave".

Police announced they were considering filing manslaughter charges and have launched a criminal investigation which will look at every company that was involved with the building and renovation of the tower. "We couldn't pack anything because we didn't know where we are going, but hopefully we will get back", she said as she stood outside Swiss Cottage Library, one of the emergency shelters in the shadow of the blocks.

Georgia Gould added: "We realise that this is hugely distressing for everyone affected and we will be doing all we can, alongside the London Fire Brigade and other authorities, to support our residents at this hard time".

She said the government would ensure councils take "immediate action" over the failed tests, adding: "Absolutely our first priority is people's safety".

Hotpoint said Friday that "words can not express our sorrow at this bad tragedy" and added it was working with authorities to examine the appliance. One hotel chain, Premier Inn, is calling in experts to make certain its properties meet safety regulations.

It is up to each local authority to decide whether to evacuate residents from blocks which have failed fire tests, a spokesman for the communities and local government told AFP. "However, we really don't want to do this".

Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a public inquiry into the tragedy and established a $6-million fund for victims after initially being severely criticized for her response to the fire and failure to adequately gauge the public mood and outrage.

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