All fires need a combination of oxygen, heat and fuel to start and spread, and these three things can come from any number of sources. Here are some of the most common causes
“Known cancer-causing chemicals and respiratory sensitisers” are among the chemicals spread as a consequence of the fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower in 2017, according to a study published last week.
Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire found that the area surrounding the tower had suffered "significant environmental contamination".
Analysis of soil, debris and char samples, gathered from various locations up to 1.2 km away from the site of the fire, found increased concentrations of a range of hazardous chemicals. Researchers concluded that the result was “an increased risk of a number of health problems to those in the local area”, including cancer and asthma.
“There is undoubtedly evidence of contamination in the area surrounding the Tower, which highlights the need for further in-depth, independent analysis to quantify any risks to residents,” said the study’s lead author Professor Anna Stec, who added that further investigations and health-screening processes would be “crucial”.
It is now almost two years since the blaze, which claimed 72 lives and burned for around 60 hours before eventually being extinguished. Official inquiries have since found that materials in the building’s exterior cladding were a "clear and significant" fire hazard and contributed to the spread of the flames. Shadow fire minister Karen Lee said this week that the tower was a "ticking time bomb" as a consequence of the government cutting one out of four fire inspectors since the beginning of the decade.
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