Tower Block fire in London?

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pieman99
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by pieman99 »

Torquemada 1420 wrote:
pieman99 wrote:Rumours it was a discarded cigarette from an upper floor landing in washing on a balcony lower down.
FWIW, with what is apparently left of the building, I'd thing it was damned early to be able to work that out.
Yeah, that was on the radio about 07:30 this morning, there'll be plenty of speculation at the moment.
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Torquemada 1420
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Torquemada 1420 »

The Fire Brigade Union has told the BBC that normal fire protection has not functioned in Grenfell Tower.
which may tie in with survivor reports that they heard no alarms.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Crash_12 »

For anyone in the immediate area:

Londoners with spare clothes, toiletries, toys, nappies etc please drop them to St Clements Church, 95 Sirdar Road, W11 4EQ . #GrenfellTower

People only have their pyjamas Need spare clothes, toys, toiletries
Last edited by Crash_12 on Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by London_Lurker »

Torquemada 1420 wrote:
London_Lurker wrote:When Lakanal House went up round my way it was found that, in addition to the issues with lack of fire escapes (see relevant wiki page), each refurb of the block had made it less fire safe because fire safety was well down the list of refurb priorities e.g. below warmth and look. I presumed some lessons had been learnt from that. But Grenfell House went up like it was doused in f**king petrol... What the fudge did they clad the building with?

Locals still talk about Lakanal, and we were lucky because it went up whilst most residents were at work. Grenfell is twice as tall, and it went up in the evening during the week. Horrific.
Read some stuff on designs post 9/11. Basically, stairwells and lift shafts are chimneys in waiting. If fire gets into them, they act as perfect draws for volumes of colder/fresh oxygen below and exasperate the problem. Tricky stuff to design them so they provide adequate access/escape v having some mechanism to prevent the chimney scenario. One option it to have staging i.e. lift only goes x floors and then you have to switch. Alternating stair wells. Trouble is these are expensive and inconvenient. Globby will know more about lifts.

In the end, alarms/early warning remains the best measure available to most.
I'm completely inexpert on these things so thanks for the knowledge. I just find it so hard to believe that this is possible. Here in Camberwell the local chat was that Southwark had make Lakanal more unsafe with their refurb, and when I read that they had recently refurbed this block I making the natural connection. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything solid.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Jeff the Bear »

SamShark wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:Just can't understand how this is even possible in this day and age. The Building Regs and umpteen EU regs on materials used in construction means that shit just shouldn't burn up like that.
It's incredibly unusual isn't it.

Either the building seems to have somehow been massively faulty or the fire started in a very unusual way.

I think if a fire starts in a flat the flat should contain if for up to an hour. The vast majority of fires in flats don't actually go further than the flat of origin so for the whole building to go up is unthinkable.

Really odd - very sad also obviously.
Reports seem to be suggesting the fancy new cladding that was applied to the outside (a common tactic with ugly tower blocks which is essentially rolling a turd in glitter) went up like a match stick.

But that sort of stuff goes through years of testing before it even gets anywhere near a building and Kitemarked up the whazzoo.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Torquemada 1420 »

London_Lurker wrote:
Torquemada 1420 wrote:
London_Lurker wrote:When Lakanal House went up round my way it was found that, in addition to the issues with lack of fire escapes (see relevant wiki page), each refurb of the block had made it less fire safe because fire safety was well down the list of refurb priorities e.g. below warmth and look. I presumed some lessons had been learnt from that. But Grenfell House went up like it was doused in f**king petrol... What the fudge did they clad the building with?

Locals still talk about Lakanal, and we were lucky because it went up whilst most residents were at work. Grenfell is twice as tall, and it went up in the evening during the week. Horrific.
Read some stuff on designs post 9/11. Basically, stairwells and lift shafts are chimneys in waiting. If fire gets into them, they act as perfect draws for volumes of colder/fresh oxygen below and exasperate the problem. Tricky stuff to design them so they provide adequate access/escape v having some mechanism to prevent the chimney scenario. One option it to have staging i.e. lift only goes x floors and then you have to switch. Alternating stair wells. Trouble is these are expensive and inconvenient. Globby will know more about lifts.

In the end, alarms/early warning remains the best measure available to most.
I'm completely inexpert on these things so thanks for the knowledge. I just find it so hard to believe that this is possible. Here in Camberwell the local chat was that Southwark had make Lakanal more unsafe with their refurb, and when I read that they had recently refurbed this block I making the natural connection. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything solid.
Defo no expert! Just recounting what I'd read (hopefully accurately). Forgot to state that it seems obvious to minimise materials that can burn but fire can travel on oxygen some extraordinary distances so even if there is nothing combustible in stairwells, there can still be serious problems.

{EDIT} Bollox. Forgot one other thing: outside fire escapes. Some US buildings have them I guess because old designs mean there is no other solution. Also may be impractical for higher buildings and designers don't like the eyesore or the security risk (burglars) but one piece mentioned that these can be doused in water (only way you are doing that inside is with sprinklers or brave firemen) keeping escape routes open.
Last edited by Torquemada 1420 on Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by croyals »

Horrifying. How does this happen in 2017?
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by TB63 »

I'm down in Southampton at one of our high rise construction sites.

Reports going round the industry is that the insulation behind the newly installed cladding went up, hence the fire which a front door would contain is negated as the fire was coming in from the outside, popping the windows in as it went. Kingspan and similar insulation materials not allowed above 6 stories now. Has to be Rockwool or similar..
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by village »

TB63 wrote:I'm down in Southampton at one of our high rise construction sites.

Reports going round the industry is that the insulation behind the newly installed cladding went up, hence the fire which a front door would contain is negated as the fire was coming in from the outside, popping the windows in as it went. Kingspan and similar insulation materials not allowed above 6 stories now. Has to be Rockwool or similar..
Insulation was what Runham said caused Shanghai fire.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Crash_12 »

Jeff the Bear wrote:
SamShark wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:Just can't understand how this is even possible in this day and age. The Building Regs and umpteen EU regs on materials used in construction means that shit just shouldn't burn up like that.
It's incredibly unusual isn't it.

Either the building seems to have somehow been massively faulty or the fire started in a very unusual way.

I think if a fire starts in a flat the flat should contain if for up to an hour. The vast majority of fires in flats don't actually go further than the flat of origin so for the whole building to go up is unthinkable.

Really odd - very sad also obviously.
Reports seem to be suggesting the fancy new cladding that was applied to the outside (a common tactic with ugly tower blocks which is essentially rolling a turd in glitter) went up like a match stick.

But that sort of stuff goes through years of testing before it even gets anywhere near a building and Kitemarked up the whazzoo.
Gaps between the cladding and buidling apparently, coupled with the the hot weather and most flats probably had windows open.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Rumham »

Jeff the Bear wrote:
SamShark wrote:
Jeff the Bear wrote:Just can't understand how this is even possible in this day and age. The Building Regs and umpteen EU regs on materials used in construction means that shit just shouldn't burn up like that.
It's incredibly unusual isn't it.

Either the building seems to have somehow been massively faulty or the fire started in a very unusual way.

I think if a fire starts in a flat the flat should contain if for up to an hour. The vast majority of fires in flats don't actually go further than the flat of origin so for the whole building to go up is unthinkable.

Really odd - very sad also obviously.
Reports seem to be suggesting the fancy new cladding that was applied to the outside (a common tactic with ugly tower blocks which is essentially rolling a turd in glitter) went up like a match stick.

But that sort of stuff goes through years of testing before it even gets anywhere near a building and Kitemarked up the whazzoo.
This would be puzzling. Lots of it now has fire retardant foam insulation which just can't burn let alone go up like this did.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Torquemada 1420 »

TB63 wrote:I'm down in Southampton at one of our high rise construction sites.

Reports going round the industry is that the insulation behind the newly installed cladding went up, hence the fire which a front door would contain is negated as the fire was coming in from the outside, popping the windows in as it went. Kingspan and similar insulation materials not allowed above 6 stories now. Has to be Rockwool or similar..
As per Jeff's post, how TF would that have passed (presumably) rigorous certification checks?
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Margin_Walker »

Eyewitness who got out of the 17th floor with his 68 yo aunt talking about the cladding burning on the outside of the building

https://twitter.com/AssedBaig/status/874853960863141890
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Rumham »

village wrote:
TB63 wrote:I'm down in Southampton at one of our high rise construction sites.

Reports going round the industry is that the insulation behind the newly installed cladding went up, hence the fire which a front door would contain is negated as the fire was coming in from the outside, popping the windows in as it went. Kingspan and similar insulation materials not allowed above 6 stories now. Has to be Rockwool or similar..
Insulation was what Runham said caused Shanghai fire.
There should be a world of difference though between what the the Chinese were putting up 7 years ago and what is BCA approved.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Margin_Walker »

ASMO wrote:A Friend and work colleague of mine texted me at 1.30 this morning saying he was trapped on the 22nd floor, was not able to get a response from him ....spent hours calling the helpline....finally got a text just now, him, his wife and young kids are in hospital....kids in an induced coma and wife who is pregnant they are concerned about the baby.....makes you take life into perspective....
Jesus. Hope the everyone pulls through
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Torquemada 1420 »

ASMO wrote:A Friend and work colleague of mine texted me at 1.30 this morning saying he was trapped on the 22nd floor, was not able to get a response from him ....spent hours calling the helpline....finally got a text just now, him, his wife and young kids are in hospital....kids in an induced coma and wife who is pregnant they are concerned about the baby.....makes you take life into perspective....
The tiniest consolation is that they got out. :?
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by village »

Torquemada 1420 wrote:
TB63 wrote:I'm down in Southampton at one of our high rise construction sites.

Reports going round the industry is that the insulation behind the newly installed cladding went up, hence the fire which a front door would contain is negated as the fire was coming in from the outside, popping the windows in as it went. Kingspan and similar insulation materials not allowed above 6 stories now. Has to be Rockwool or similar..
As per Jeff's post, how TF would that have passed (presumably) rigorous certification checks?
Maybe not so rigorous. The mandatory fire equipment safety checks at this tower block had apparently not been done for 4yrs.

In HK they've recently found that the longest bridge in the world (still under construction) from HK to Macau, has used concrete that may not actually be concrete. Certification checks were falsified. Now you might say that London is not China but I'm increasingly of the mind that standards in the UK are slipping pretty rapidly.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Tim. »

ASMO wrote:A Friend and work colleague of mine texted me at 1.30 this morning saying he was trapped on the 22nd floor, was not able to get a response from him ....spent hours calling the helpline....finally got a text just now, him, his wife and young kids are in hospital....kids in an induced coma and wife who is pregnant they are concerned about the baby.....makes you take life into perspective....
What's the number of this helpline please, mate?
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Rumham »

ASMO wrote:A Friend and work colleague of mine texted me at 1.30 this morning saying he was trapped on the 22nd floor, was not able to get a response from him ....spent hours calling the helpline....finally got a text just now, him, his wife and young kids are in hospital....kids in an induced coma and wife who is pregnant they are concerned about the baby.....makes you take life into perspective....
Oh shit :(

On the positive side at least people have been getting down from the upper floors. I thought everybody up there might have been a goner.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by village »

ASMO wrote:A Friend and work colleague of mine texted me at 1.30 this morning saying he was trapped on the 22nd floor, was not able to get a response from him ....spent hours calling the helpline....finally got a text just now, him, his wife and young kids are in hospital....kids in an induced coma and wife who is pregnant they are concerned about the baby.....makes you take life into perspective....
Shit ASMO, hope they all pull through. :(
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by JB1981 »

Asmo, hoping for the best outcome. There are so many horrifying stories coming through, I can't imagine what this would have been like for those involved or with family/friends living there.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Torquemada 1420 »

Crash_12 wrote: Gaps between the cladding and buidling apparently, coupled with the the hot weather and most flats probably had windows open.
Should be no gaps? Would be creating mini chimneys? IF the insulation was combustible, at all..
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

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ASMO wrote:A Friend and work colleague of mine texted me at 1.30 this morning saying he was trapped on the 22nd floor, was not able to get a response from him ....spent hours calling the helpline....finally got a text just now, him, his wife and young kids are in hospital....kids in an induced coma and wife who is pregnant they are concerned about the baby.....makes you take life into perspective....
Sorry, ASMO. Sounds horrific. Obviously hope all pull through.

With others on this thread, still slightly disbelieving that such things can happen in this day and age.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by SamShark »

This summer has been a hectic time for our emergency services so far
Spoiler: show
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Laurent »

Horrible news
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by SamShark »

Sorry about that massive photo.

No idea how to spoiler
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Rumham »

Margin_Walker wrote:Eyewitness who got out of the 17th floor with his 68 yo aunt talking about the cladding burning on the outside of the building

https://twitter.com/AssedBaig/status/874853960863141890
He makes an interesting point about there being no central fire alarm panel and everybody just has their own pokey in room pieces which are basically for detecting burnt toast.

He was on the 17th floor. If this was in place and the fire brigade had access to water throughout the building then this seems at a very early point like it could have been a lot less tragic. Lots of blame is to be allocated here.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Laurent »

SamShark wrote:This summer has been a hectic time for our emergency services so far
Spoiler: show
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copy the code sam
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by SamShark »

Cheers
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Torquemada 1420 »

Rumham wrote:
Margin_Walker wrote:Eyewitness who got out of the 17th floor with his 68 yo aunt talking about the cladding burning on the outside of the building

https://twitter.com/AssedBaig/status/874853960863141890
He makes an interesting point about there being no central fire alarm panel and everybody just has their own pokey in room pieces which are basically for detecting burnt toast.

He was on the 17th floor. If this was in place and the fire brigade had access to water throughout the building then this seems at a very early point like it could have been a lot less tragic. Lots of blame is to be allocated here.
No requirements for building-wide ones to cover corridors, landings, hallways etc?
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Tim. »

ASMO wrote:Helpline number is 0800 096 1233, they are fine, the work family are pulling around to help them as much as we can...they have literally lost everything.
Thanks, asking for a friend of a friend.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by kiwidutchie »

Margin_Walker wrote:Newsletter from 2014 according to the Guardian live feed
Our longstanding ‘stay put’ policy stays in force until you are told otherwise. This means that (unless there is a fire in your flat or in the hallway outside your flat) you should stay inside your flat. This is because Grenfell was designed according to rigorous fire safety standards. Also, the new front doors for each flat can withstand a fire for up to 30 minutes, which gives plenty of time for the fire brigade to arrive.
Hope the loss of life is minimal. What a horrific situation
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Margin_Walker »

Plans of the building (apparently) from Twwitter via the Guardian

Image

Just the one stairwell for the building. Is that standard for buildings this size from the era?
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by henry »

Found this potentially illuminating but obviously carries multiple caveats since it emanatesfeom Reddit:

From reddit: "Hi all, I am a fire engineer and work with building design, specifically are performance based design for fire life safety in buildings.
I see a lot of comments wondering about people evacuating and how the fire spread so fast. So I thought I'd try to explain but do note I did not work on this building and have no more building specific knowledge than you.
How did the fire spread so fast? From looking at it this most likely begun spreading so fast as a facade fire. The recently installed panels are most likely combustible or to be more specific they probably have an aluminum exterior but have a combustible core or insulation. As aluminum melts fairly easily, once the core is exposed the fire can spread rapidly across the surface preheating and melting off the aluminum skin of the panels ahead if it, exposing more combustible material and spreading faster.
Similar fires would be the lacrosse docklands fire (Melbourne) and a few of the spectacular looking fires in Dubai the past two years. These other fires though didn't spread into the building due to sprinkler systems mainly. It looks like Grenfell either didn't have a sprinkler system or it failed/was overwhelmed as the system is only designed to activate a few heads at a time and this fire would have triggered many more than the design case.
A bit more about the panels: from loooking at the company that did the contract work, the panels were most likely ACP/ACM - Aluminum Composite Panel/Material. These are thing sandwich panels, with a very thin aluminum face (generall 0.5mm), a core material (normally around 3 to 6mm) and an aluminum backing. The core material used in this building was likely combustible (duh from the fire). The most likely material was Polyethylene (PE) which gives off a lot of heat per kilo burned, almost as much as petrol. This means that a little bit of PE can generate a lot of heat when burned. For a comparison wood gives off only about 1/3 as much heat per kilo as petrol.
Regarding evacuation: In the UK most residential buildings operate in a 'defend in place' strategy. That is the apartment on fire and maybe those directly adjacent are alerted automatically and evacuated but the other apartments may not be alerted to a fire. This actually works fairly well and safely for internal fires as each apartment is generally fire separated from the next so fire spread internally doesn't often occur between apartments especially with sprinkler protection. Obviously with a rapid spreading external fire the idea of defend in place doesn't work well to improve occupant safety, rather it may contribute to delays in evacuation and more exposure to fire
Regarding the alarm system: To go with a defend-in-place strategy, an integrated building wide alarm system may not have actually been required by the code or by the project engineer.
Personally, that is not the way I would design the building, but there's more than one way to skin a cat."
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Boobs not Moobs
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Boobs not Moobs »

Christ I feel sick watching this.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Rumham »

Torquemada 1420 wrote:
Rumham wrote:
Margin_Walker wrote:Eyewitness who got out of the 17th floor with his 68 yo aunt talking about the cladding burning on the outside of the building

https://twitter.com/AssedBaig/status/874853960863141890
He makes an interesting point about there being no central fire alarm panel and everybody just has their own pokey in room pieces which are basically for detecting burnt toast.

He was on the 17th floor. If this was in place and the fire brigade had access to water throughout the building then this seems at a very early point like it could have been a lot less tragic. Lots of blame is to be allocated here.
No requirements for building-wide ones to cover corridors, landings, hallways etc?
Done correctly then everything would be linked to a control room where the FM guys could monitor it. A fire starts then alarms should go off everywhere in the building. I have no idea about building code in UK residential buildings. There is no chance you could do a commercial project without this though.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Tehuringa »

Bloody hell.... it's horrific :(
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Boobs not Moobs »

All the sudden large flush of smoke coming out maybe the FB flushing it. They did it to my house so get the smoke out. They have incredibly powerful fans to do it. Whether they can do it to something that size I don't know but it looked like what they did to my house.
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by Varsity Way »

No conspiracy theories yet?

Surely this was a plane impact :blush:
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Re: Tower Block fire in London?

Post by theo »

My sister is nearby. She was woken by the helicopters and sirens. She works at a local school and they have had a collection of clothes etc for those who have lost everything.

Shocking that the recent refurbishment clearly used cladding that was not properly fire rated. Whoever made that call (clearly for cost reasons) needs to be shot as does the Building Regs inspector who signed it of.

There has long been a gripe that while private developers adhere to the Part L building regs local authorities often don't. Lets hope that is the not the case here but if it is then someone is in massive trouble (criminal charges)and I can see Ken & Chel facing a hefty lawsuit.
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