Grenfell Tower fire: Cladding ‘will burn’ warns manufacturer

The cladding used on the 24-storey Grenfell Tower was manufactured by Celotex.
The cladding used on the 24-storey Grenfell Tower was manufactured by Celotex.
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The manufacturer’s instructions on the cladding used on Grenfell Tower warns that it will “burn if exposed to a fire of sufficient heat and intensity”.

A health and safety document for its RS5000 material warns that it should be stored “away from all possible sources of ignition”. However, it is a top grade class ‘O’ for fire resistance, which says the material protects from the spread of flames and limits the amount of heat released from the surface during a fire.

A total of seventeen people died in the fire, which broke out in the early hours of Wednesday morning, but officials have warned the toll will be much higher.

• READ MORE: Grenfell Tower fire: 17 dead, ‘Unknown numbers’ of bodies in flats

Questions have been raised over the safety of the cladding, which eyewitnesses said went up in flames in just five minutes with one describing it as like “a nightdress by a fire”. The material was put on the outside of the building during a £8.5 million refurbishment carried out two years ago.

The document states: “As with all organic materials, toxic gases will be released with combustion. Do not incinerate waste. Do not inhale fumes. Fire fighters should attack the fire according to the combustible materials present, and use breathing apparatus.”

A spokesman for manufacturer Celotex said: “Our thoughts are with those affected by the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower. Our records show a Celotex product (RS5000) was purchased for use in refurbishing the building. If required, we will assist with enquiries from the relevant authorities at the appropriate time.”