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Insurance industry warned of fire risk month before tower block blaze

On Friday some 4,000 residents were forced to evacuate their homes in north London after the fire brigade ruled that their blocks were unsafe.

FILE: The Grenfell Tower apartment block smoulders in central London. Picture: @LondonFire/Twitter

LONDON – The insurance industry warned the British government of the dangers of flammable external surfaces on buildings a month before the Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 79 people.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said in a statement on Sunday it had been calling on the government to review building fire-safety regulations since 2009 and warned in May that combustible external cladding on high rises could cause fire to spread.

The Financial Times first reported ABI’s warning.

The British government said on Sunday that 60 high-rise buildings had failed safety tests carried out since fire ravaged the Grenfell tower block in west London on June 14.

On Friday some 4,000 residents were forced to evacuate their homes in north London after the fire brigade ruled that their blocks were unsafe.

The British government was not immediately available for comment.