Irwell Valley reassure residents after London tower block fire
Wednesday 14th June 2017 @ 14:03 by Tom Greggan
News Tameside

Irwell Valley Housing Association have moved to reassure their tenants in the wake of the horrific fire at a block of flats in London.

At least six people have been confirmed dead and 74 are in hospital, 50 in a critical condition, after a fire ravaged the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in Kensington this morning. Many residents are still missing.

Irwell Valley provides housing services to 16,000 people in the North West, many in Tameside, including high-rise blocks such as Southey, Castleton and Fitzgerald Courts in Haughton Green.

A letter jointly signed by Head of Tenancy Services, Andrea Spencer, and Rob Cawley, Asset and Technical Manager read: “Following the tragic events overnight of the fire at Grenfell Tower in London, Irwell Valley would like to provide our residents with the following information.

“All our high-rise blocks have current, up-to-date fire risk assessments and are fully compliant with all requirements of fire safety legislation. All flats/apartments have the appropriate fire protection, including entrance doors to properties that are all fire rated. The reason that doors are fitted with self-closing devices is to separate each individual flat and prevent any fire spread throughout the building.”

It continued: “There is currently no requirement for a common fire alarm system within the blocks. Neither is there a requirement for the provision of firefighting equipment, fire extinguishers etc. Indeed, these are discouraged by the Fire Service.”

While the cause of the fire in London is still yet to be established at this early stage, Irwell Valley have already said they will take on board any recommendations that arise from the investigation.

The housing association is also planning to meet with their tenants over the next few weeks to answer any questions or queries they may have in relation to fire safety in their property.

Residents have also been reassured by Greater Manchester fire officers following the fire in Kensington.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s Assistant County Fire Officer and Director of Prevention and Protection, Geoff Harris, said:“Firstly I want to express my deepest sympathies to all those affected by the tragic incident in London. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have lost loved ones and seen their homes destroyed and with the emergency services who continue to work in very challenging circumstances.

“I want to reassure people in Greater Manchester that incidents of this scale, involving people’s homes, are extremely rare.

“Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service works closely with local councils and housing providers to ensure all buildings are as safe from fire as possible, and that staff can advise residents about how to stay safe. We have assessed every high rise building in Greater Manchester and our officers and crews visit each one to make sure that they are familiar with the building in case they need to attend any fire or other incident that may happen there.

“We would urge everyone to ensure they have a working smoke alarm and if your smoke alarm sounds or if you become aware of a fire in another flat our advice is to ‘get out, stay out and call us out’.

“If you have a specific concern or feel vulnerable please call our Contract Centre on 0800 555 815 who will be able to provide advice or book you in for a Safe and Well Visit.”