A subsequent investigation said the Hotpoint FFB model posed a "low risk" and did not need modifications. No product recall was required, the investigation concluded , and consumers have been advised they can carry on using the model as normal. The helpline for owners of the Hotpoint model is or visit the Hotpoint website. Flammable cladding - installed on Grenfell Tower in a recent renovation - is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire.
Both the cladding and insulation on the outside of the building failed all preliminary tests by the police. The insulation samples burned more quickly than the cladding tiles. Documents obtained by the BBC suggest the cladding fitted during its refurbishment was changed to a cheaper version. Cladding can create cavities which in some cases can cause a chimney effect, drawing flames up the cavity if there are no fire barriers. The Department for Communities and Local Government said composite aluminium panels with a polyethylene core should not be used as cladding on buildings over 18m high.
Engineering and manufacturing company Arconic later said one of its products, Reynobond PE polyethylene - an aluminium composite material - was "used as one component in the overall cladding system" of Grenfell Tower. Work included new exterior cladding, replacement windows and a communal heating system. There was also extensive remodelling of the bottom four floors, creating seven additional homes, and improvements to communal facilities. Plans for the development show how the building was modified and the single stairway.
Rydon said it was "shocked to hear of the devastating fire", adding that the work met "all required building regulations". The Grenfell Action Group had claimed, before and during the refurbishment, that the block constituted a fire risk and residents had warned that access to the site for emergency vehicles was "severely restricted".
In February residents warned fire safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, had not been tested for 12 months. KCTMO said it was aware that concerns had been raised historically by residents and they would form part of its investigations. The tower block was given a medium fire risk rating - defined as a normal fire risk - in following completion of the refurbishment by the London Fire Brigade and Kensington and Chelsea Council.
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The fire safety advice for Grenfell Tower residents was to "stay put" - unless the fire was affecting their own flat. This is because tower block flats are built as a fire-resistant box, completely surrounded by fire-resisting construction from the rest of the building. Witnesses said they saw people trapped inside the burning building screaming for help and shouting for their children to be saved. Some said they saw lights - thought to be mobile phones or torches - flashing at the top of the block of flats, and trapped residents coming to their windows, some holding children.
Witness Jody Martin said: "I watched one person falling out, I watched another woman holding her baby out the window Tiago Etienne, 17, saw small children being thrown out of the building from as high as the 15th floor. But doubt has been raised as to whether any children were thrown from the building. Christos Fairbairn, 41, a resident on the 15th floor, told the BBC how he managed to brave the toxic smoke and make his way out of the burning building.
Dozens of people stormed Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall demanding more support for the fire's survivors. Prime Minister Theresa May was criticised for her reaction to the fire, and she told the House of Commons that the official response had "not been good enough". Kensington and Chelsea council's chief executive, Nicholas Holgate and council leader Nick Paget-Brown resigned amid criticism over the handling of the tragedy.
The chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, the council's arms-length body which manages the tower, stepped down to "concentrate on assisting with the investigation and inquiry", before quitting six months later. A public inquiry , led by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, is taking place. The formal opening of the Inquiry took place on 14 September and the first procedural hearing on 10 and 11 December Commemoration hearings - where families can pay tribute to their loved ones who died - begin on 21 May Other hearings will take place throughout the summer and into September.
The inquiry is looking at the adequacy of regulations, the tower's refurbishment, and the response of authorities in the aftermath. In May, the government agreed that two experts will sit with Sir Martin , following pressure from campaigners. The new panel will join the second phase of the inquiry, which is not expected to begin until after December. Whenever you've had a hot fire going and want to "bank" it down for the night, care must be taken not to cut down the air supply too suddenly.
Adjust your draft control to, say, half throttle you'll have to experiment a bit to find the setting that works best for you for a few minutes, then, as the flames diminish, continue to turn it down in gradual stages, so the fire can quench down slowly. If the stove starts to whuff, open the draft control just a bit to supply more air to the fire for a few minutes, then resume your gradual reduction of combustion air until you reach your all-night burn setting.
Another cause of whuffing is when you've been burning the woodstove with its door open and then close it while the fire is still burning briskly.
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If you've already gotten yourself into this situation, let the fire die down before trying to close the stove door. When you do close the door, make sure you open the draft control all the way first , to avoid abrupt air starvation to the fire. Once the fire is under control, commence gradual reduction of combustion air with the draft control as outlined above.
I used a flex pipe that extended up to the clay liner. After loading the stove for the night, I sat back with my wife to reflect on how beautiful our stove was.
Just about then, the glass blew out in an explosion, spraying wood, coals and shards of glass six feet across the carpeted room. The clay liner looked pretty clean when I did the install. I had no concept of whuffing and commonly closed the door abruptly on a raging fire. When starting fires, I commonly used the ash pan door to stoke the kindling again, closing the door abruptly. On this occasion, the stove had been burning all day.
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I had just filled the stove, piling large split logs onto very hot coals. My wife actually commented that I had overfilled the stove and might put the fire out. I left the door ajar with the damper fully open to rekindle the flame. Once I had aggressive flames, I closed the door, leaving the damper open.
My block off plate was blown out of place. Most of the fiberglass used to seal around the edges of the plate was blown onto the hearth. After the ensuing nightmare of a fire drill I was proud of my wife, she only ran one full circle in the kitchen before grabbing the fire extinguisher , I sat dumbfounded trying to figure out what happened. I came across your site and learned about whuffing.
This can never ever ever happen to me again. I want to take all of the necessary precautions. Should I run a stainless pipe all the way to the top of the chimney? Did the exposed fireplace firebox filling with flue gases contribute? My wife is thoroughly freaked out. She may never let me light the stove. Any advice you could offer would be a huge help. But I think with a little care, you'll be able to avoid a recurrence.
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First, there should be no reason to leave your stove door or ash drawer cracked open to kindle a fresh load when you already have a bed of coals. Too much combustion air can create a "blacksmith's forge" environment inside the fire chamber, which we call overfiring.
Any attempt to reduce the air supply to an overfired stove can easily result in the creation of an extreme vacuum in the fire chamber which pulls a big gulp of air down the chimney, causing an explosion when it hits the flames. Extending your stainless liner to the top of the chimney would be a big help, as an oversized fireplace chimney that's been heating up all day can create WAY too much updraft, contributing to the likelihood of overfiring.
Another thing you can do to avoid overfiring the stove is add new pieces of fuel one at a time over the course of a few minutes instead of all at once, to keep your fire under control. Finally, to prevent future explosions, avoid any abrupt reduction in combustion air: when you want to cool down a hot fire, turn your draft control down in stages, a little at a time.
I too have a new Jotul castine and have had several scarey explosions blowing out the gaskets and ashes all through the room with the doors shut.
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I open the bottom ash door to get new logs started on a bed of coals; after the logs catch I shut the door and thats when the stove blows up. Quite freightening and very dangerous. I went to Jotul website but they have no contact info to report this problem. Could this be a problem with the stove design??
Andy Hi Andy, The scenario Kerry described above would tend to cause violent whuffing in almost any airtight, so your stove being the same model could be mere coincidence. You said you read the letter above, but did you read our response? You don't want to leave the ash drawer open when you've just added a fresh load to a hot bed of coals. The resulting uncontrolled burst of combustion air will cause exactly the kind of overfiring that leads to explosions when you abruptly close the ash door.
In the future, open the draft control, not the ash drawer, when you add a fresh load, then gradually return the draft setting to medium-low just as soon as the wood is kindled.