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Suffolk firm Celotex halts supplies of insulation used in Grenfell Tower cladding as London flats evacuated over safety concerns

PUBLISHED: 22:02 23 June 2017

The charred remains of Grenfell Tower. Picture: DAVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIRE

The charred remains of Grenfell Tower. Picture: DAVID MIRZOEFF/PA WIRE

Suffolk suppliers of insulation used in the £8.6million refurbishment of Grenfell Tower say it will no longer be supplied for cladding on high-rise buildings.

Celotex is based on the Ladylane Industrial Estate in Hadleigh. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVECelotex is based on the Ladylane Industrial Estate in Hadleigh. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

Celotex, based in Hadleigh, supplied its RS5000 insulation to form part of the rainscreen cladding fitted to the tower block.

It has been suggested the cladding panels helped to spread a blaze at the North Kensington tower, which killed at least 79 people and destroyed 151 homes on June 14.

The decision comes after Scotland Yard revealed that insulation samples collected from the 24-storey building failed preliminary tests.

A spokesman for the firm said: “In view of the focus on rainscreen cladding systems and the insulation forming part of them, Celotex believes that the right thing to do is to stop the supply of Celotex RS5000 for rainscreen cladding systems in buildings over 18 metres tall with immediate effect, including in respect of ongoing projects, pending further clarity.”

The spokesman pointed out that safety testing was carried out on the insulation as part of a “particular rainscreen cladding system”, but said: “Any changes to components of the cladding system or construction methods used need to be considered by the relevant building designer.”

He added: “Celotex is shocked by the tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire.

“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this devastating human tragedy.

“We have been supplying building products for more than 40 years and as a business our focus has always been to supply safe insulation products to make better buildings.

“We want to do everything that we can to support the Government’s ongoing response to the tragedy.

“We continue to offer our full co-operation with the investigations.”

Hundreds of further high-rise buildings are being tested by the Government to see if they pose a fire threat in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.

An estimated 800 households in five tower blocks in Camden are being evacuated to allow “urgent fire safety works” to take place.

The high-rise buildings on the Chalcots estate are being emptied tonight after firefighters said they “could not guarantee our residents’ safety”, local council leader Georgia Gould said.

A rest centre has been set up and residents were being found hotels and other accommodation.

Ms Gould said it was expected the work would take three or four weeks, adding: “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 difficult time.

“The Grenfell fire changes everything – we need to do everything we can to keep residents safe.”

It was also revealed today that the blaze started with a faulty fridge.

The Government has ordered an immediate examination by experts of the model of Hotpoint fridge freezer involved, Downing Street said.

A recall of Hotpoint fridge-freezer model numbers FF175BP or FF175BG has been issued while further tests are carried out, while a company spokesman said: “Words cannot express our sorrow at this terrible tragedy. We offer our most profound condolences to the victims, those who have lost loved-ones, homes, and possessions, and to their friends and families. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved, including the emergency services who risked their lives to extinguish the blaze and rescue those in the building.”

If you own an appliance part of the recall call the Hotpoint freephone hotline on 0800 316 3826, or visit hotpointservice.co.uk/fridgefreezer and register details for further information.

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