BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Marriott is trying to determine if it’s prominent Harbor East Hotel is covered with the same panels that were used on a high-rise in London, England.
The devastating fire led the manufacturer to stop selling the materials for tall buildings worldwide.
The material contains a plastic core that some experts say is highly flammable and dangerous when used in buildings that are taller than 40 feet.
The Baltimore Marriott opened in 2001 with great fanfare. One of the first skyscrapers in Harbor East and the tallest buildings.
The website for manufacturer Arconic, touts the use of its Reynobond PE cladding on the hotel, saying the 23-foot-long panels are the longest the company ever produced.
Arconic recently stopped selling PE for tall buildings after the devastating fire at the residential high-rise in London.
The fast-moving flames killed at least 80 people and generated outrage across the U. K. and an investigation into why the fire spread so quickly.
“People were just waving, on the top floor, can’t do nothing,” one man says.
The tower was covered with Reynobond, which has flammable polyethylene sandwiched between aluminum.
Building codes ban the product in much of the United States on high rises. In England, authorities out of concern, have already started removing the cladding on other structures.
“We are looking at every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of the tower,” says Fiona McCormack of the Metropolitan London Police.
A spokeswoman for Baltimore City Housing says she’s not sure exactly what’s covering the building because builders are not required to submit brand names of materials. However, she maintains it complies with all city codes because it has a sprinkler system.
Marriott sent WJZ the following statement:
We are working with the majority owner of the hotel and with industry experts to determine whether the Reynobond ACM RB 160 PE is in the exterior cladding at the hotel and confirm that the cladding product meets applicable safety requirements. We are taking this information in review very seriously.
Marriott says safety is the top priority and the hotel has extensive fire protection systems.
The cladding manufacturer Arconic says the materials should be used in compliance with local building codes.
Almost 200 buildings in London have failed fire inspections in the wake of the tragedy.