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Grenfell Tower survivors shocked at fire doors shortcomings

Experts found that an undamaged door from the block could only withstand a blaze for 15 minutes, not the 30 minutes it was designed for.

Fire doors at Grenfell Tower could only hold back flames for half the time they were supposed to, investigators have found.

In revelations described as “shocking” by survivors, experts tested an undamaged door from the block and discovered it could only withstand a blaze for 15 minutes – not the 30 for which it was designed.

The Metropolitan Police announced the developments as it continues a “comprehensive” investigation into the tragedy which left 71 dead last June.

Three fire doors provided by the same company – believed to be Manse Masterdor – were found to offer less protection than guidelines recommend.

It is understood they were installed in the west London block between 2011 and 2012.

The products in question are no longer on sale, said Synseal, which took over Manse Masterdor’s trade and operating assets two years after the doors were installed.

Manse Mastedor remained a separate company and was renamed Litchfield Investments Limited in 2014. It is now in the process of being wound up.

Those touched by the tragedy were alerted to the findings in a letter from the Metropolitan Police.

Natasha Elcock, a survivor from the tower and a representative of the bereaved and survivors’ group Grenfell United said: “It’s shocking – first the cladding and insulation then the doors. Who knows what else is putting people’s lives at risk?

“It’s time people’s lives are taken more seriously, and that includes everyone from every walk of life.

“People’s homes must be made absolutely safe for them and their children. The Government should have improved regulations after previous fires. We can’t listen to any more excuses.

“Grenfell United will not stop campaigning until the lessons of Grenfell are learnt. Nothing can bring our loved ones back but we must make sure a fire like this never happens again.”

Kensington and Chelsea Council, which owned Grenfell Tower, said tests were currently “inconclusive” and urged the Government to act quickly to provide clarity on the situation.

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid is due to make a statement on the subject at 11.30am, it is understood.

Scotland Yard said in a statement: “We have previously described that our forensic examination at the scene would be followed by a phase of offsite testing to be conducted by experts on our behalf.

The door tested was designed to resist fire for 30 minutes but during the test, it was only found to resist the fire for approximately 15 minutes, a much shorter period than expected Metropolitan Police statement

“As part of this investigation, experts tested a flat front door taken from  Grenfell Tower. The door tested was designed to resist fire for 30 minutes but during the test, it was only found to resist the fire for approximately 15 minutes, a much shorter period than expected.

“The forensic examination and testing phase is ongoing and we are not able to comment on the potential impact or otherwise that any test result may have on the overall criminal investigation.”

A public inquiry into the fire is running alongside the police investigation, as well as a review into current building regulations.

It is feared that cladding installed on the tower could have also accelerated the spread of the blaze.

A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea Council added: “We understand that tests organised by the Government have found that three fire doors from the same company provided less protection than guidelines recommend, but test results are as yet inconclusive.

“Alongside hundreds of councils and landlords across the country, we are seeking further information from the Government on what this means for our residents.”

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