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Fire at UK student hostel sparks new cladding fears

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Concerns over the use of potentially dangerous cladding materials have again emerged after a fire broke out at a student housing block in the UK.

Authorities are still investigating the cladding used in the six-storey building, although they have said it is not the same as the one found in the Grenfell Tower. Combustible cladding was blamed for the rapid spread of the inferno in the London public housing block in 2017.

“We have been warning the Government since the Grenfell Tower fire that urgent action must be taken to protect lives,” National Fire Chiefs Council Chairman Roy Wilsher said after Friday’s fire in Bolton.

“It is a national outrage that more than 200 buildings still have [aluminium composite] cladding on them.

“At this stage we do not know what cladding was on this building, but this will be looked at as part of the investigation along with the whole building structure.”

The Greater Manchester Fire and Service Rescue says an inspection of the student housing quarters post-Grenfell showed it did not use the same cladding materials.

“Following the fire, our investigation will consider the materials used within the external wall construction and what, if any, role these materials played in the development and spread of fire. This investigation will be complex and take some time,” the fire and rescue service said in a statement yesterday.