11th Apr, 2021

Fire chief: 'Stay put' advice is fit for purpose after tower blaze

Ross Crawford 16th Dec, 2020

RESIDENTS of a high-rise tower in Solihull are being reassured about the safety of their home following a sixth-floor fire by West Midlands Fire Service.

The incident at Redwood House in Kingshurst, on the evening of December 5 was attended by 11 fire crews.

However WMFS says the design of the building and fire safety measures in place meant that the severe fire was successfully contained to the flat in which it started.

The 12-storey block contains 66 flats for elderly residents.

Some residents decided to leave their homes during the incident and then had to be led to safety by firefighters. But others who decided to ‘stay put’ remained safe and their homes were unaffected.

Area Commander Samantha Burton, of West Midlands Fire Service, said: “The front door to the affected flat stopped the fire and contained it within. Only the communal area outside suffered minor smoke damage.

“Our Fire Safety Officers have been carrying out further investigations since the incident and have found the same fire safety measures throughout the building.

“We would like to reassure residents that the building’s ‘stay put’ policy is fit for purpose and that the built-in aspects of fire protection are sound.

“We would like to thank those residents who did stay in their homes. This meant that our fire crews could focus on tackling the fire and concluding the incident as quickly and as safely as possible.”

Fire safety inspections have found that the building is well–maintained, complies with fire legislation and has high standards of fire protection.

Last month, Solihull Community Housing (SCH) announced that it is to fit fire sprinklers throughout its high-rise housing stock in the borough.

Added Area Commander Burton: “We have continued to liaise closely with SCH and want residents to feel safe and reassured.

“Anyone who would like us to advise on fire safety in their own flat just needs to contact us via their housing representative and we will be in touch.”

Residents are being urged to get into the habit of having a night-time routine to help prevent fire

if you have any concerns, raise them as soon as you can with your landlord

Turn off appliances and equipment like cookers and TVs which don’t need power overnight

Close internal doors, which can help to stop fire spreading

Fully extinguish smoking materials such as cigarettes and matches, and candles, before you go to bed

Charge items such a mobile phones and tablets during the day, when you can keep an eye on them.

In addition:

Make sure you know the escape plan for your particular building – your landlord has a legal duty to give you a copy, so ask for one if you haven’t had it

Keep exits clear – in your own flat and in shared areas

Never wedge a fire door open

Don’t make changes to your flat’s front door without seeking advice from the managing agency

Keep corridors and stairwells clear and sterile, eg do not dump rubbish or old furniture there

If you have any concerns, raise them as soon as you can with your landlord.

For further high-rise safety advice, visit: https://www.wmfs.net/safety/at-home/#highrise

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