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Grenfell Tower offers grim reminder of third-party risk

Neil Hodge | June 20, 2017

Shortly before 1 a.m. on Wednesday, 14 June a fire started somewhere on a 24-storey residential tower block in central London. No one knows exactly how the fire started, or on which floor. But what there is no doubt about is the speed at which the fire spread: Within an hour the blaze had moved from one of the lower storeys to the 24th floor on at least one side of the building. So far, 79 people have either been declared dead, or presumed so.

The incident is the subject of a criminal investigation with possible prosecutions for health and safety violations, as well as corporate manslaughter charges. The government has also ordered a public inquiry into what went wrong.

Already a litany of errors is emerging that is frankly unbelievable. The tower block did not have enough fire extinguishers, and many of those that were present were out of their test date. Nor was there a sprinkler system: Only tower blocks built after 2007 have this requirement, and fewer than 1...

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