We have our first cat rescue from the horrendous fire at a residential tower block in North West London, UK, in which at present 17 people have perished, but judging by the news, the numbers will mount dramatically, I suspect.
We don’t know how many pets were in the building. We know the building housed up to 500 or so residents. I would expect there to be at least several cats in the building and of course some dogs.
It is nice to know, actually, that we are getting some news about cat rescue from the building. The cat concerned is called Pancho. He was separated from his owners. Perhaps they raced out of the flat in panic and left him behind. We don’t know.
Pancho has been labelled the “Grenfell Tower Cat”. At the time of dictating this, Pancho is being cared for by volunteers at a local church.
The Telegraph online newspapers says that pets are believed to have died in the blaze as their owners left them behind when they fled the building.
Buildings adjacent to the inferno were evacuated because of falling debris and because there was a real danger of the tower block collapsing. One woman, Esther Watts, 50, was told to leave the building adjacent. She collected her dog. She told her 12-year-old son to go ahead while she got dressed.
Then she left her three cats in the flat. Oh dear. I don’t like to read that. She took her dog but left her cats behind. She said, “I hope they’re still there”.
Cats get a rough deal sometimes when compared to dogs. I am sure that the story of this tragic tower block fire has spread virally and internationally. The cause of it, incidentally, is out of date building regulations allowing cladding to be placed around the building which improves its appearance and reduces heat loss but makes the building far less safe because the cladding is made of a sandwich of an inflammable foam material sandwiched between two aluminium panels. The cladding is placed just away from the building.
This created a funnel for the flames to climb up and the outside of the building became a torch spreading the fire rapidly across and up the building. It was completely devastating and uncontrollable. There are other issues which will come out but this should not have happened. The community in the area is angry. We should look to government for failings; the failure to improve building regulations and enforce them properly.