Tower block fires can spread downwards because of PVC coated windows
10 August, 2017
• WHILE there is obviously great attention to the upward spread of fire due to inflammable insulating panels on tower blocks, there should also be a parallel study of fires that spread downwards.
This happened in the Lakanal fire in 2009 when fire spread, not only vertically but also descended from the 11th floor to the fifth floor, where people were trapped and killed.
The reason for this downwards spread of fire was due to the use of PVC-coated aluminium windows. This plastic coating caught fire and dripped with flames and toxic fumes to the windows and panels below, setting the lower flats on fire.
This use of plastic coated alloy windows has been part of a massive programme by councils and developers across the country to reduce the painting maintenance cost of wooden windows which have all been ripped out.
This is another self-regulatory scandal. The whole plastic window replacement programme should be investigated as well as insulation cladding.
South Hill Park Gardens, NW3