Check every tower block after Grenfell Tower fire to reassure residents, says new Brighton MP

Posted On 15 Jun 2017 at 4:29 pm

Brighton Kemptown’s new MP has demanded fire service inspections for every tower block in the next week.

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said that the checks were vital to reassure high-rise residents who he says are currently unable to sleep at night in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.


He said: “In my constituency we have had three fires in high-rise blocks.”

They include the fire in Essex Place in which community campaigner Chris Cooke died.

Thankfully, Mr Russell-Moyle said, they did not spread in the same way as the Grenfell Tower blaze.

He added: “We have reclad our blocks very recently and I have had my inbox inundated with emails from very concerned residents, particularly disabled residents, who are on top floors and who are now fearful of their lives and who cannot sleep well at night.

“I would like to see the fire brigade involved in providing this advice because the reality is that residents now lack trust in housing providers and contractors and unfortunately in local authority advice.

“I would like to see the minister putting resources into the fire services so they have the resources to carry out full inspections of all of our blocks across this country within the next week.”

He was speaking after Police and Fire Minister Nick Hurd briefed MPs about the fire.

Mr Hurd said yesterday: “We have discussed with the Department for Communities and Local Government, local authorities and the fire service a process whereby we seek to identify towers that might have a similar process of refurbishment, run a system of checks so that we can, as quickly as possible, give reassurance to people.”

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: “Local communities should be assured that we work with local authorities, housing associations, landlords and others to help ensure that the fire safety arrangements in high-rise accommodation are safe and appropriate.

“We provide advice about fire safety measures which can include compartmentation of the building, automatic fire detection, fire alarms, means of escape and sprinkler systems.

“In recent years we have invested in co-funding sprinkler schemes in East Sussex and Brighton as part of our commitment to fire safety.

“If there is a fire inside your flat or maisonette, our advice is to alert all the people in your flat and leave, closing your doors behind you.

“You should follow your escape plan and if there is lots of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air should be clearer.

“Always use the stairs rather than the lift and call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.

“If there is a fire elsewhere in the building then the structure of your flat – walls, floors, doors – are designed to give you a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes’ protection from a fire.

“If there is a fire in your building but not inside your own home, then you are usually safer to stay in your flat unless the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you. If you stay put, you should still immediately call 999.

“It is important to remember that this advice may change and you should follow the instructions of firefighters when they arrive on scene.”

  1. ABC75 Reply

    This is undoubtedly a tragedy of proportions that its impact will rightly continue to resonate for years to come. I agree with the new MP that urgent action is required to protect others from the risk of a repeat incident like the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower.
    However, I do not subscribe to the ‘silo’ / ‘blame culture’ approach advocated by the new MP. A coordinated approach is urgently required. This won’t be served by any further breakdown in trust and relations between residents of ‘higher risk blocks’ and the building managers.
    Ultimately nobody in their right mind would want to see anything remotely like this happen again. The safety of residents has to be primary. Fire risk in blocks needs to be identified and then mitigated, quickly, to safeguard people and restore trust. This is best served by residents and housing providers working together in as open and honest way as they possibly can.
    Ultimately tighter building and fire regulations will probably be required. Hopefully these can be introduced quickly, with the support of both residents and building managers. With expert input and support from the fire rescue service and the building and construction industry.

    • Rolivan Reply

      Yes they were in the same condition whilst he has been a Councillor why hasn’t he been jumping up and down during the last 9 months?

  2. SamC Reply

    As long as older buildings do not meet current, prevailing safety standards there will be anxiety about safety among those who live in them. Safety standards evolve and prevail because previous safety standards are inadequate and can be improved.

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