Fire in student apartment block raises Grenfell parallels

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Fire fighters work at the scene of a major fire at a student residential building in Bolton, England, late Friday Nov. 15, 2019. Fire crews tackled the large blaze described by an eye witness as "crawling up the cladding" of a student accommodation building, with students evacuated but still being accounted for Saturday morning. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

LONDON – A fire that swept through a six-story student apartment building in northern England has raised concerns that authorities failed to learn the lessons of the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster in which 72 people died.

Eyewitness reports suggest the fire, which broke out Friday evening in the town of Bolton, moved swiftly up the building’s exterior cladding, raising uncomfortable parallels to the Grenfell fire. Two people were injured in the blaze.

Ace Love, 35, told the Press Association that the Bolton fire “kept getting more intense, climbing up and to the right because the wind was blowing so hard.’’

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said that “if reports are correct and flammable cladding contributed to the fire, it shows the government's shameful inaction since Grenfell."