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Spencer St fire: MFB chief compares building cladding to Grenfell Tower

Victoria’s firefighting chief says the apartment high-rise building that caught fire this morning was covered in the sort of cladding used on the ill-fated Grenfell Tower.

Several levels of balconies facing Spencer Street went up in flames this morning.

It took firefighters about 30 minutes to bring the fire under control.

No one was seriously injured.

But the cause of the fire and why is spread so fast shapes as a major issue after MFB revealed the building was covered in “combustible cladding”.

In fact, MFB chief Dan Stephens said the cladding was akin to the cladding on the Grenfell Tower, the London building in which 72 people died after a large fire in June 2017.

“My understand is that the building is cladded with ACM — aluminum composite material, so the sort of cladding that was on the Grenfell tower,” Dan Stephens said.

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“There is an understandable focus on the cladding but there is another issue that I think gets overlooked, in the way buildings are managed,” Mr Stephens told Neil Mitchell.

“The way residents are informed as to how to respond to a fire alarm for example and how the building is maintained.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Trent Curtin told 3AW Breakfast some firefighters were forced to kick in doors to access the blaze.

“We alerted residents by knocking on doors and, in some instances, kicking them in.”

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A Twitter account for the building assured residents after the 2017 Grenfell tragedy that the building was safe.