Council statement following Grenfell Tower fire

Published: Wednesday 14th June 17

Wandsworth Council’s executive member for housing has issued the following statement following the fire at Grenfell Tower in West London.

Cllr Clare Salier said: “This tragic incident has shocked London and I want to convey my deepest sympathies to all those affected.

“I understand that people living in Wandsworth Council’s tower blocks will be deeply troubled by this fire and I have asked our housing and regeneration department to write to those residents to provide them with as much information and reassurance as possible at this early stage in the fire investigation.

“Clearly it will take time for the fire brigade to find out how this fire was able to spread so quickly and we will respond to any further safety recommendations that follow.”

Council housing fire safety checks in Wandsworth

All of Wandsworth Council’s high-rise and low-rise blocks have up-to-date Fire Risk Assessments which are subject to annual review.

Regular fire safety inspections take place to all blocks whereby Estate Service Officers carry out rigorous checks to ensure buildings remain safe and comply with the highest standards. This includes checking for repairs and defects, fire doors, escape routes, service intake cupboards, hopper heads and refuse chambers.

Estate Service Officers also carry out annual fire safety checks which look in greater detail at all aspects of the internal areas that could either increase the risk of a fire starting, impede escape routes or allow a fire to spread.

Fire containment

In these very early stages of the investigation it is not possible to confirm how the fire at Grenfell Tower was able to spread through the building.

However, the Council can confirm that when there have been domestic fires in high-rise blocks in Wandsworth in recent years these fire were contained and did not spread to other parts of the building.

That said, the Council will take nothing for granted and will await the outcome of the fire investigation and respond to any recommendations that come out of this tragic incident.

Fire safety advice

Residents can help to stay safe through following this advice:

• Make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your home – Council tenants will be provided with an alarm at no cost.

• Check your smoke alarm is working every month

• Keep balconies free from clutter

• Don’t leave rubbish or bikes in communal areas or obstruct escape routes

• Make sure you know where your nearest fire exit is

• Do not smoke in common areas of the block

• Always fully extinguish cigarettes smoked in your home and dispose of them carefully and safely

Fire brigade advice

At the time of writing the London Fire Brigade has issued the following advice:

At this stage we do not yet know what caused the fire. We do not know where it started and we do not know why it spread in the way that it did. This is important to understand for anyone who lives in a high rise property or those advising people living in a similar property.

If you live in a high rise property you are not at more risk of a fire starting, living in a flat is not more dangerous than living in a house.

Advice from London Fire Brigade for people who live in high rise properties or purpose built flats and maisonettes, aside from having a working smoke alarm and taking fire safety precautions, is to make sure you know your escape plan and what to do if there is a fire inside your home or somewhere else in the building.

Further information is available on the LFB website here specifically for people who live in purpose built flats and maisonettes

Anyone who would like to volunteer to help support the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire should email including your name, contact number and availability.

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Recent comments

i live on the 7th floor of a ten storey tower block. im a wheelchair user. in the event of fire you cannot use the lift and i cant walk down 7 floors of stairs. what am i supposed to do stay where i m like the disabled man on the 24th floor of grenfell who was told someone would rescue him stay where he is and then he died. am i supposed to do the same. ive asked you to move me as my flat is unsuitable and youve said it could be years before you find an accessable property. is your attitude the same as kensingtons let the poor and disabled burn? not only that but to have to wait when i cant access the bedroom kitchen or bathroom with the wheelchair so i have to struggle in pain its degrading and inhuman
james parson

20 June 2017

I live in a tower block that has no fire alarms on landings, no sprinklers and not even safety glass in the floor to ceiling glass panels on stairwells. I would like to know if these things and other safety precautins will be addressed in the future.
Deborah Fitches

20 June 2017

hi am deaf really sad to see what happen. myn friend live blocks in Battersea he don't have fire alarm he is deaf!! very important peoples have fire alarm and check every month check bolider etc. make sure all ok I really so shock that block don't have alarm and cheap make block.
lisa constable

19 June 2017

Having spoken to council stating I have often needed ambulance (disabled heart patient) because of people parking outside of parking bats and blocking off roads neither an ambulance nor a fire engine could not get through. His response is "oh they will find a way" well no they won't as a Range Rover can't get through. So rather than wait I have contacted the fire service and this matter is Being investigated immediately. It's nice to know we can't rely on the estate manager to sort out the parking well not just parking as if you live in tower blocks you know the rest.
Carol johnson

18 June 2017

Have to say, since Wandsworth Council has made the tenants report to a housing office within the area, the problems have just mounted up. They do not care for the council tenants, they think we are trouble makers and never, ever help us when we have situations happening. They send threatening letters concerning a mop or broom outside the front balcony and if we do not remove it, we could be evicted for it because it poses a fire risk, yet people with private balconies stacked electrics and black bags piled high are left alone, the office is ruining the moral in our area, I want it gone. Just because we are social tenants, does not make us less of a person.
annoyed tenant

18 June 2017

As a private landlord in Wandsworth, I had to spend at least £10000 on fire doors, radio controlled alarms, fire extinguishers emergency lighting, electrical work, and a reinforced staircase etc. for a small house. The council inspector even timed how long my extractor fan stayed on with a stopwatch. If there is a hairline crack in the joins on the plasterboard on the ceiling, they will make you tear it down and replace the whole ceiling. I am sure Kensington and Chelsea are the same. They are happy to impose these standards on private landlords as they are earning £1350 out of the licence fee, but for some reason do not think these standards apply to their own, much larger buildings which are much more difficult to escape from.

17 June 2017

Couldn't tenants of the council's tower blocks be supplied with fire extinguishers and fire blankets as a matter of course (and urgency) this might give some assurance at this time. Are fire evacuation drills going to be reviewed within days, those who followed fire procedure instructions at Grenfell Tower, where residents were told to remain in their homes..sadly perished. There are so many Council run tower blocks in Wandsworth, please show the residents that you are thinking of them. It would seem that the Council often sets stringent fire related rules for private landlords and home owners which are not followed by themselves?
Maggie Heaney

16 June 2017

Hi i have lived in my block for 12 year and have never worried about my safety until now we have had work being done on my block for the last 8 months and it has been hell we have been chemically posioned been without gas and heating for seven weeks and now there is white foam cladding being put on the block which was removed only when the fire in west london i am very worried for my family as i have young children and when ever i try to ask the council or lake house what is going on the dont tell me

16 June 2017

The council expects its tenants to protect themselves by installing a smoke alarm. A smoke alarm going off at the bottom of a high rise block will not wake people if they are asleep 20 storeys up. For private landlords with a building that go to a second floor, or above, the council require you to have a fire system where all of the alarms throughout the house are wired into the mains, with battery back up, and are linked up, so that if one sounds, they all sound. Heat detectors are used in the kitchen, rather than smoke alarms, so they don't go off every time someone burns a piece of toast. The landlord is responsible for checking and maintaining the alarms, not the tenant. The fire in Fayland Avenue was not confined to 1 flat.

16 June 2017

Good response to an important issue. You might want to correct 1. the broken link to 2. extra word - ...Residents can help stay keep safe through... I cannot help wondering whether the Grenfell tragedy would have happened if the residents and building manager had been able to work together more productively. I wonder why the outside of the building was refurbished when the need for sprinklers inside was a clearly more important priority and apparently much lower cost. I trust that WandsworthBC has a good working relationship with its tenants.
William Jago

16 June 2017

Some Blocks are without hot water this has been for weeks now people are probably using other means to heat water which could be dangerous .. and you should be installing sprinklers . And means of escape should there be a fire .. families with young children should not be in Tower Blocks .. what is in place in your tower Blocks for emergency situations ? Some Blocks of flats have unsafe windows . When will these be fixed ? . I hope that the council get on top of all the issues people are raising !!!!!
Sheila fowler

16 June 2017

I understand that there are high rise blocks in Roehampton that have been without any gas for a number of weeks now. The residents are not clear on what is happening or how long they will continue without hearing or hot water. Can you please provide residents with the answers to their requests for timescales around when hot water will be available? People are just using other more dangerous means of keeping warm and boiling pans and kettles over and over for hot water. Please advise when gas works will be completed.
Dawn Scully

16 June 2017

U state that it's not known how the fire spread yet is it not true that it was the cladding put up to make block look better and that castlemain has the same cladding done by same firm. My granddaughter lives there on 18th floor with her 2 babies please do something now rather than later. Don't wait till another tragedy do something NOW please
Louisa green

15 June 2017

I note from your statement that you refer to Wandsworth Council Blocks - will you include private and social housing blocks in your reassurance statements. I live in a block that was given planning permission for the re-furbishment which took place this year. We have aluminium plastic coated cladding and I am concerned.
Ellen Ley

15 June 2017