Council statement following Grenfell Tower fire

Published: 14 June 2017

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 www.london-fire.gov.uk/

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