June 14, 2017

I rarely turn on the television in the morning, but I did today.

I always look at my iPhone as I'm getting up, and I'd seen that there was a terrible fire in London...



Grenfell Tower. The pictures call to mind the World Trade Center burning. Are people jumping?
"Police said for anyone at the windows to wave a rag or something so the firemen could rescue them, but we thought: how are they gonna do that?"...

"We could hear people screaming 'help me' so me and my brother, with some other people who live in the area, ran over to the estate to where you could still get underneath it and there were people just throwing their kids out saying 'save my children'..."...

"[T]here were still people at their windows shouting 'help me'. You could see the fire going into their houses and engulfing the last room that they were in... One of the girls lives on the top floor, which the police advised that if you were living on that floor that it is most likely that they haven't made it."...

"I saw people flying out of their balconies and windows. I saw a man who flew out of his window, I saw people screaming for help. We saw a lot of people jumping out that basically didn't make it. It was from the eighth floor and up, and that kind of floor you wouldn't really make it."
Terrorism? More terrorism in London? This is the kind of news that shifts my attention from "print" media to television. But only BBC TV was covering the fire, and it was interviewing a couple with a dog. They'd just lost their home, but were rather calmly discussing what they'd do next.

On American TV — I only tried Fox News and CNN — the distant disaster had passed even beyond the stage of talking to nice people in the vicinity of the building. "Fox and Friends" had 2 glossily made-up hosts giggling about a woman who'd run her car into a lamppost after a spider had crawled on her leg.

On CNN, there was a panel speaking in a dire tone about the Sessions testimony. Every line that came out of their mouths deserved pushback. I watched the hearing, and it was obvious to me that CNN's talking heads were distorting things — always in the direction of bolstering the belief that President Trump is in big trouble — but it's not in print, so how do I blog it? Spend my time doing my own transcriptions? Video the television and put up my homemade clip? I could. But I thought, this is why I stick with the written word. The flow of crap on TV is too awful. You just have to shut it off. Back to print.

53 comments:

Humperdink said...

I'm with you AA, my TV does not come on in the AM any longer. My morning routine used to be Manahattan Joe with his sidekick Mika. No longer. Trump hate everyday. Stretch, distort, vilify.

I decline to be part of his ratings.

David Baker said...

The picture is horrific. I'm guessing they didn't have sprinklers. I'm also wondering why this monster fire in the middle of London didn't get domestic coverage.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Reports last night indicated that this building had known troubles, a history of complaints; and the landlord (I THINK a government entity, but that wasn't clear) had done nothing about it. People were angry, but not surprised.

After all that's happened in England the last couple of months, it's easy to suspect terrorism here. But I haven't yet seen a story that suggests that.

Ann Althouse said...

"Reports last night indicated that this building had known troubles, a history of complaints; and the landlord (I THINK a government entity, but that wasn't clear) had done nothing about it."

The banality of evil: landlords.

I was going to say the government is also responsible for not enforcing a fire code, but if the landlord is the government... This is why we need separation of powers.

Clyde said...

And this is one of the reasons I have no desire to ever live in a multistory apartment building like that. When the nearest exit is twenty floors down and a fire breaks out, then you're screwed.

Paco Wové said...

The landlord, from Wikipedia:

Kensington and Chelsea TMO is the largest Tenant management organisation in England, running nearly 10,000 properties on behalf of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea - the entire council housing stock.

The TMO was set up on 1 April 1996[1] under the UK Government's 'Right to Manage' regulations.[2] Kensington and Chelsea TMO is the largest TMO in the UK[3] and is unique in being both the only TMO that runs the entire housing stock for the local council but also in being the only TMO that is also an ALMO (Arms Length Management Organisation).[4]

alan markus said...

Considering the fire just happened, it may take awhile to sort out the facts and causes. A few things stand out - fire department seemed overwhelmed by the scope of this fire (maybe their inspection capabilities were not that great either); the building underwent a major renovation - appears that some kind of flammable exterior cladding was put in place; similar projects have had fires that did not cause this kind of devastation; project appears to be public housing project managed by a resident organization (at one time HUD was promoting resident management of HUD projects); wonder what role weather played in spreading the fire (winds?)up the exterior walls; concerns had been expressed about the physical capabilities of residents aging in place. I could keep on with this - I suspect that after this incident is reconstructed, there will be multiple levels of blame - fire department, building code enforcement, resident management organization, architect, etc.

Paco Wové said...

In the United Kingdom, an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) is a not-for-profit company that provides housing services on behalf of a local authority. Usually an ALMO is set up by the authority to manage and improve all or part of its housing stock. Ownership of the housing stock itself normally stays with the local authority.

exiledonmainstreet said...

The building was sheathed in styrofoam.

Styrofoam. You don't have to be an engineer to realize how dangerous that is. Is that common in highrises?

Once ignited, it's like a building wrapped in napalm. And, while the building was renovated a few years ago, the upgrades were purely cosmetic - no sprinkler system or fire escapes.

David Baker said...

Clyde said... When the nearest exit is twenty floors down and a fire breaks out, then you're screwed."

Not necessarily. I built something like this thirty years ago: Highrise personal escape device available at Amazon… (purchase using the Althouse portal here...)

iowan2 said...

"The flow of crap on TV is too awful. "

Yea, I too, used to watch Morning Joe. That was pre Trump. I gave me some insight into what the left was being fed for talking points. When Trump was in campaign mode, I could only stand to watch for minutes, before the pure lies just got crazy. Now its all narrative, all the time. It's no wonder the Democrats are just clinically crazy now.

iowan2 said...

Majority Whip Steve Scalise shot early this morning while practicing for baseball game. Appears Scalise was targeted.

Rene Saunce said...

CNN is a joke now too.

cf said...

"Every line that came out of their mouths deserved pushback"

Yes.

I do not watch TV. But I do listen to radio, and NPR has been astonishing in their brazen distortion of reality in national politics. To me it is criminal.

The fact that it IS only heard, rather than readable is maddening. They use their words deviously, and very often I want to "replay the tape" of the snake like way they weave malice through their reports.

(Related: Shopped for a pitchfork on your amazon link the other day. Not quite ready to order, but soon)

Ralph L said...

People on TV talk too much, female and male. Athletic events are the worst--they must be paid not to allow dead air. Mute!

Rene Saunce said...

The corruptocrat party is the party of harassment and fake news. and the Clintons.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Clyde said...
And this is one of the reasons I have no desire to ever live in a multistory apartment building like that. When the nearest exit is twenty floors down and a fire breaks out, then you're screwed."

I've lived in mid-rises (7-10 stories) and I was always a bit paranoid about fires. All it takes is one careless or drunken resident dropping a lit cigarette on the sofa or leaving a burner on to start a blaze. You can only be responsible for yourself; you have no knowledge of or control over what the guy one floor down is doing.

exiledonmainstreet said...

iowan2 said...
Majority Whip Steve Scalise shot early this morning while practicing for baseball game. Appears Scalise was targeted."

Good God.

Biotrekker said...

It seems to me that there must be some flaw in the design, construction or upkeep of this building for it to go up in flames so totally, so quickly.

Ralph L said...

It's in a nice area of London, between Wormwood Scrubs (old prison, now park) and Hyde Park.
Built in 1974, not a prosperous time in Britain or here either.

Biotrekker said...

I read that the building underwent some sort of renovation in 2016 that included new insulated cladding. Is it possible that this cladding was flammable and/or created some sort of "chimney effect" if there was space between the cladding and the building?

Ralph L said...

Del Ray in Alexandria, where the shooting occurred, used to be the black, cheap and seedy part of town, but not as dangerous as public housing or Shirley Duke, just down Seminary Hill from where I lived in the 70's. It's now gentrified and expensive and probably half ferrin.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Apparently Scalise and other Congressional Republicans were practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game, which is scheduled for tomorrow.

The shooter is dead. Scalise was shot in the hip but will be OK.

Don't check the Twitter feeds on this - liberals are gloating.

David Begley said...

"I watched the hearing, and it was obvious to me that CNN's talking heads were distorting thing." Because that is what CNN does.

Amadeus 48 said...

The last time I watched TV news was the controversy over crowd-gate at the Trump inauguration.

I live on the 17th floor of an apartment building built in 1926. We have two-hour burnthrough on each floor and external fire-escapes on each end of the building. We had a fairly serious fire on the fifth floor twenty years ago. The fire was not really a problem except for the tenant-owner of the unit, who suffered a lot of property damage, and the people one floor below, who suffered water damage. The Chicago Fire Department was great. That is one city agency that works.

A big issue in Illinois is whether older buildings should be required to retrofit with sprinkler systems. The fire equipment industry and the plumbers union are in an unholy alliance to make it happen, and the payoffs flow freely in Springfield. Only the resistance of big-money, lakefront liberals who live in vintage buildings keeps the forces of needless expense at bay.

Cladding a building in styrofoam has to set some sort of record for stupidity.

Bill Crawford said...

Seems CNN does have transcripts of the news shows.

http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/cnr.html

Kevin said...

"I watched the hearing, and it was obvious to me that CNN's talking heads were distorting things — always in the direction of bolstering the belief that President Trump is in big trouble."

Imagine if you're a busy American who's trying to get unbiased news and you think CNN is your best shot. Imagine if you live in a predominantly blue area and the people who are more active in politics and seem more plugged into the news than you are repeat the CNN talking points as if they were facts, not biased opinion. And imagine when someone on the office says something contrary, which sounds like it has no basis in fact from the "facts" you've been given, and your "blue" friends pile on about how "misinformed" they are.

I feel bad for those people. Without investing significant time to scour alternative sources, and significant personal capital to engage the majority of people around you about their false narratives, you're stuck in an alternate reality. And you don't realize the Matrix has you.

Tommy Duncan said...

"I watched the hearing, and it was obvious to me that CNN's talking heads were distorting things — always in the direction of bolstering the belief that President Trump is in big trouble..."

I've heard others observe that it appears CNN has declared war on Trump. Truth is the first casualty in war.

Tank said...

CNN = Fake News. NYT and Wash Post too.

Trump is right again.

MayBee said...

I turned on the BBC to watch the news about the fire. They at least were covering it constantly. It's not too far from our old home- my husband knew the building well but I can't picture it immediately

Being council housing, it would have a lot of families in it, which is so sad. I'm praying for their lives and safety. And it sounds like the new cladding might not have been as fire-proof as certified.

MayBee said...

And CNN is awful. It is pretty much the "How is Trump going to be impeached today?" network. It is constantly on 11.

MayBee said...

The BBC has been interviewing residents and people who went into the building to rescue people, and all said no fire alarms went off.

Big Mike said...

Over at Drudge I got some real facts.

Before he opened fire the shooter asked (allegedly asked) whether the people using the field were Democrats or Republicans. Suggests that Scalise wasn't specifically targeted.

Someone took a picture of the placard telling residents what to do in case of fire. It advises them to stay in their flats (apartments).

The local fire company was very proud of its shiny new ladder truck. The ladder could reach 105 feet. Ten stories. Only seventeen stories short of the top floor.

Big Mike said...

Oh, and one other piece of fake news. Despite what you may have read or heard, the Golden State Warriors did not vote -- unanimously or otherwise -- to decline an invitation to meet with Trump.

Big Mike said...

Sorry. Points two and three, above, are related to the London fire, not the shooting. I should have made that clear.

Snark said...

I made the mistake of perusing the news when I woke up in the middle of the night. The London fire was horrible and shocking, and I didn't get back to sleep for about 2 hours. Like many people I'm sure, I thought of the imagery of 9/11 immediately, and the terror and helplessness of both victims past and victims present seemed very close.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

The local fire company was very proud of its shiny new ladder truck. The ladder could reach 105 feet. Ten stories. Only seventeen stories short of the top

That's actually pretty tall for a ladder truck. It wouldn't be practical to build a truck capable of reaching the top floor of every building in a modern city.

Anthony said...

Maybee

I used to live about a 15 walk from the building. It is just west of the Kensington Leisure Centre. Like you I cannot really picture the building itself.

MayBee said...

If I lived or worked in a high rise in London today, I would want a lot of answers before I felt safe.
The fire department obviously can't reach very high floors. But none of the other measures worked in this building- the stair wells for escaping filled with smoke immediately. The fire spread rapidly (on the fireproof cladding?), and the firedoors in the units appeared not to hold back the fire.
Were the materials used faulty?

MayBee said...

Anthony- thanks. I actually used to volunteer right across from the Kensington Leisure Center (which has had a fancy remodel!) so I must have seen the building a million times. But only my husband could picture it immediately.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Flammable cladding? Who would even manufacture that? What architect selected it? What building inspector approved the plans?

Looking at the area on Google. Yep, some serious access problems for emergency vehicles. How were the materials for the building rework brought in?

Peter said...

The conventional wisdom was always, "If you're in a high-rise and there's a fire, stay in the building: it's fireproof, stuff wet towels under the doors if smoke is getting in and stay put."

And perhaps that's true for some buildings; after all, a B-25 flew into the Empire State Building in 1945 and, although it burst a big hole in the exterior and started a fire, that fire was contained and didn't spread to the rest of the building.

BUT that was an old building, structurally over-designed, one with a brick exterior and a heavy steel frame internally protected from fire with masonry.

Incidents like this make one question whether perhaps complacency has resulted in newer high-rise buildings that are less fire-safe than old ones?

MayBee said...

Peter- this was a cement building, which you would think would be quite safe in a fire.

Sam L. said...

This is why I don't watch CNN.

chuck said...

I took a train from the New Territories to Guangzhou back in 1989. As the train left the station loud, noisy, propaganda played in the car, just like CNN does at American airports. Left wing propaganda is the curse of the modern world, G*d hates us.

Big Mike said...

@Bushman, I'm not disputing what you say, but what was the fire company's plan for a fire in that building?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Mike, I wasn't trying to contradict you. It just seemed like an odd statement to me. I have no way of knowing what the fire prevention plans are for London high rises.

My own impressions from travels to the UK is that they seem more focused on fire prevention than we are here in the states. Fire doors on every floor. Very stringent requirements on the flammability of building materials. But I have no specific knowledge of this building.

Unknown said...

My local news covered this fire pretty well. It's a shame, and I hope it wasn't terrorism.

--Vance

Big Mike said...

@Vance, photos of survivors posted online show the women in hijabs. If it was terrorism, at least it wasn't Islamic terrorism.

Yancey Ward said...

High rises can definitely burn out that way, even from small starting fires, if there is no working sprinkler system. I have read that the fire started at a faulty refrigerator, but I wouldn't expect a cause to be known that quickly here through standard forensics, so I am guessing that the resident of the apartment has said this to the investigators.

I also wondered whether or not it was arson/terrorism when I saw the picture on Drudge around 2:00 a.m. EDT this morning. It is interesting to me that it got such little coverage on American television as Althouse describes, but part of that might be that the shooting took place at 7 a.m. EDT this morning. I didn't turn on the television at 2:00 a.m., so I can't say whether or not it was being ignore then, too.

Yancey Ward said...

From what I have read about the managers of the properties, it was government owned, but managed by a non-profit entity set up specifically to manage such government owned housing stock. The non-profit is technically responsible for collection of rents and all maintenance, but as a non-profit it is wholly dependent on the owners for funds to do so.

MayBee said...

I didn't turn on the television at 2:00 a.m., so I can't say whether or not it was being ignore then, too.

It got mentioned in the Prime Time EDT shows, but at 2 am those shows were just running on repeat. I switched to BBC, where it was of course being covered.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Big Mike said...
@Vance, photos of survivors posted online show the women in hijabs. If it was terrorism, at least it wasn't Islamic terrorism.

6/14/17, 12:00 PM


Not necessarily, nobody kills more Muslims than other Muslims.