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Leaked Grenfell report: Refurbishment 'turned tower into fire hazard'

The Grenfell Tower fire would have had little opportunity to spread from the flat it started in if the exterior of the tower had not been renovated with combustible material, a leaked report has said.

According to the report, seen by the Evening Standard, the 2014-2016 refurbishment of the building failed to meet fire safety standards and deficiencies in the new facade helped the fire to spread up the building's exterior.

The fire, which started in a fridge-freezer in a fourth floor flat, travelled through a nearby open window before spreading via the external cladding, according to the newspaper.

The fire damage was so severe that, had the building been build to the less stringent requirements of current building regulations, "it is likely the tower would have collapsed", the report allegedly said.

Some 71 people died in the west London tower block fire on June 14 last year.

The report, by fire investigation experts BRE Global, was quoted in the Evening Standard as saying:

Grenfell Tower, as originally built, appears to have been designed on the premise of providing very high levels of passive fire protection.

The original facade of Grenfell Tower, comprising exposed concrete and, given its age, likely timber or metal frame windows, would not have provided a medium for fire spread up the external surface. In BRE's opinion... there would have been little opportunity for a fire in a flat of Grenfell Tower to spread to any neighbouring flats.

– Grenfell report

Dated January 31, the report was prepared as part of the police investigation into the June 14 fire.

It also identified flaws with the cavity barriers, window frames, "door closers" and flammable insulation and cladding.

Grenfell United, the group of survivors and bereaved from the Grenfell Tower fire, said:

The report in the Evening Standard is shocking but it is not surprising to those of us that lived in the tower. It was clear to us the refurbishment was shoddy and second rate. We raised concerns time and time again. We were not just ignored but bullied to keep quiet. That a refurbishment could make our homes dangerous and unsafe shows that the contractors put profit before lives. It's an industry that is broken. It's also an industry that has been allowed to get away with this behaviour.

Six people died in a fire at Lakanal House in 2009 and the Government failed to act and make changes to regulations that would have stopped a fire like that happening again. Tonight we know people are going to sleep in homes with dangerous cladding on them.

It is vital the police investigation and the public Inquiry uncover everything that led to the fire and that the Government now actually act so that this can never happen again.

– Grenfell United

Our aim is to carry out an investigation that has integrity and if it uncovers evidence that any individual or organisation is criminally culpable we want that evidence to be tested through the judicial system. As such we are disappointed that an interim draft report appears to have been leaked and published. To protect the integrity of the investigation the MPS will not confirm specifics of the ongoing investigation.

– Met Police