In promotional brochures, a US company boasted of the "stunning visual effect" its shimmering aluminum panels created in an NFL stadium, an Alaskan high school, and a luxury hotel in Baltimore. Those same panels—Reynobond composite material with a polyethylene core—also were used in the Grenfell Tower apartment building in London, the AP reports. British authorities say they're investigating whether the panels helped spread the blaze that ripped across the building's outer walls, killing at least 80 people. The panels are not recommended for use in buildings above 40 feet because they are combustible.
Determining which buildings might be wrapped in the material in the US is difficult. In some cases, building records have been long discarded and neither the owners, operators, contractors, nor architects involved could or would confirm whether the cladding was used. That makes it virtually impossible to know whether the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront hotel or Cleveland Browns' football stadium—both identified by Arconic's brochures as wrapped in Reynobond PE—are actually clad in the same material as Grenfell Tower, which was engulfed in flames in less than five minutes. An engineer with the National Fire Protection Association said the use of Reynobond PE on the Baltimore Marriott and the city-owned Cleveland Browns stadium in particular should be reviewed because of their height. Arconic declined to give further details about the buildings in the brochure, and hasn't said how many US buildings contain the product. (Read more Grenfell stories.)