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Families seek compensation for Camberwell house fire

A legal action has been launched by the families of six people who died during a fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, south London, according to reports.

The families have engaged lawyers to submit legal papers to Southwark Council, contractor Apollo and the London Fire Brigade, according to BBC London.

An inquest into the incident in 2009 found “serious failure” by the council, its contractors and subcontractors.

At the time of writing, Southwark Council had declined to comment while Apollo had not responded.

Narrative verdicts were returned in March highlighting “numerous missed opportunities” to carry out safety checks inside the building.

These included a failure to carry out proper risk assessments at the property after a major refurbishment project in 2006/07 by Apollo on behalf of Southwark Council, which replaced asbestos with composite panels that “had a significant impact on the fire resistance of the external wall of Lakanal House”.

Despite a “proactive approach” by the health and safety advisors, the council’s housing department had not prioritised the assessments, the verdict stated.

The London Fire Brigade, responding to the oral verdicts, said: “This was a tragic fire and I would like to express my personal sadness and offer condolences from all at the London Fire Brigade to the families and loved ones of those who died on 3 July 2009.

“For every member of the London Fire Brigade, however experienced, being involved in a fatal fire is difficult and this incident was particularly harrowing with six people including three children losing their lives.

“From the outset we have worked with the police to investigate the cause of the fire and have welcomed the opportunity these inquests have provided to help find out what happened.

“London Fire Brigade is committed to providing Londoners with the highest standards of service and our policies and procedures are under constant review.

“We learn from every incident and the fire at Lakanal is no exception. Since July 2009 we have reviewed a number of our procedures and policies to address the issues that were raised.”

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