And just because we don’t live there doesn’t mean we don’t care.
The 24-story now-burned Grenfell Tower in West London had a recent facelift. Not, apparently, because it needed it, but because the wealthy residents around it – local authority housing in a poor enclave in one of London’s richest boroughs - objected to the sight of all that concrete. It was re-faced with aluminum-based panels, that come in two types – inflammable and non-inflammable. The difference in price? £2 each, by reports. 250 inflammable cheapies were used, saving a notable £5,000 for the local council, one of the richest anywhere, with a total budget last year of £550m . A cost-cutting that cost lives – total still unknown, could be in three figures – and forced people to hear these stories from their trapped and disappeared friends and families
Ahmed Chellat, 60, had spoken to Fouzia El Wahabi, his sister-in-law. “I was on the phone to her saying, ‘Get out.’ But she said they had been told to stick towels under the door, stay inside and wait to be rescued,” he said. She said: ‘Smoke is coming under the doors,’ then I got cut off. That is the last time I heard from her.” At one point a woman’s voice, can be heard shouting, “We’re stuck on the 23rd floor … There’s too many people stuck upstairs.” “Please pray for me, there’s a fire in my council block. I can’t leave the flat. Please pray for me and my mum,” she wrote. People told his dad to put a blanket around his head and get out, but he said the floor was too hot. “A friend then called him at 4am,” he said. “And one of the last things he said was: ‘Tell my sons that I love them.’ Nobody was able to contact him after that.” “Forgive me, the fire is here, I’m dying.”
Still, at least that $5,000 – say, $50 per dead person, or less – helped to keep taxes low and shrink government. Maybe into the bathtub, as a last resort, before the heat and smoke fill the place to deathly-toxic level?
You won’t be surprised to learn that this chap has a lot to say on this topic - but in order not to defocus this - he will write a separate post.
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