Journalists Missed Concerns Raised by Grenfell Residents' Blog - but Specialist Mag Sounded Alarm on Tower Block Fire Safety

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Media Outlet: UK Press Gazette

Peter Apps was quoted in a Press Gazette article about the Grenfell Tower fire in downtown London. 

News editor Peter Apps carried out an investigation into a tower block fire in Shepherd’s Bush, which broke out in August last year, for the specialist news title as part of its monthly investigative journalism series Spotlight.

Apps used Freedom of Information requests to gain information from Hammersmith and Fulham Council and the London Fire Brigade (LFB) about how the fire had spread across five floors of the tower block after a faulty tumble dryer set alight on the seventh floor.

The investigation revealed that panels attached to the outside of the building which came apart when burnt, exposing flammable insulation material and plywood to the blaze, were “likely to have assisted the fire in spreading up the outside of the building” and led to the LFB warning all London boroughs about their use.

Apps told Press Gazette: “After the Shepherd’s Bush fire, journalists weren’t pushing on the answer to that question [of why the fire had spread so quickly]. All the focus was on the tumble dryer. It shows a role for specialist media to keep an eye on these things." 

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Peter Apps is a Future of War fellow at New America. He is a Reuters global affairs columnist. He reported from southern Africa then South Asia before stints in London and Washington D.C. covering emerging markets, global political risk, and defense issues.