Com­ing home to night­mares

Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - NEWS - by KATHER­INE CLE­MEN­TINE kather­ine.cle­men­tine@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @KC_journo

A MUM has hit out at a hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion af­ter a West Dray­ton flat fire last month left her eight-yearold son with night­mares.

The Park Lodge Av­enue res­i­dent, 27, brought her con­cerns about the safety of the block of flats, man­aged by Not­ting Hill Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, be­fore a blaze broke out at the prop­erty be­low her in the early hours of Fri­day Novem­ber 17.

The mum-of-one, who asked not to be named, was only alerted to the flames by the flat oc­cu­pant scream­ing in fear.

She told getwest­lon­don: “The fire was in a flat un­der­neath me, I’m on level four.

“We were asleep at the time, it was about 2.30am to 3am when we heard some­one knock­ing on the door.

“At first I thought it was a joke, then I heard a voice scream­ing that made me get up. I went into the cor­ri­dor and you could smell it and see smoke.

“The woman was scream­ing and knock­ing on peo­ple’s doors. Most of the peo­ple in th­ese flats have kids.

“This is all af­ter my boiler had is­sues and I told my hous­ing of­fi­cer that “some­thing has to be done” and they didn’t do any­thing.

“This was the one thing my son was scared of and it has now hap­pened.

“The whole thing could have been avoided – peo­ple’s lives were at risk and the hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion didn’t do any­thing.”

The con­cerned res­i­dent wor­ries for the wel­fare of her son af­ter the in­ci­dent.

She said: “It’s al­right for [the hous­ing of­fi­cers], go­ing home to their warm houses, my son comes home to night­mares.

“I’ve taken him to the doc­tors about it.

“When he went back to school, they did a fire alarm test.

“Can you imag­ine how he re­acted? He freaked out and now he won’t sleep.

“I’ve now had a smoke alarm fit­ted by the fire brigade.

“But there are no fire alarms or sprin­klers in the com­mu­nal ar­eas. I’ve been there for five years and it’s been non-stop prob­lems.”

A spokesman said: “This means if a fire is in an­other part of the build­ing you will usu­ally be safer stay­ing in your home un­less the heat or smoke is af­fect­ing you.

“Prop­er­ties with a stay put pol­icy are de­signed to con­tain fires where they start and pre­vent them spread­ing.

“Each flat in the block has a mains-wired smoke alarm with a bat­tery back-up.

“Th­ese will all be checked in the com­ing days to en­sure they are work­ing as ex­pected.

“The com­mu­nal ar­eas have smoke and heat de­tec­tors which de­tect fire and open smoke vents, while no­ti­fy­ing the main fire panel in the concierge.

“Due to the stay put pol­icy, there is no sounded alarm in the com­mu­nal ar­eas.”

Not­ting Hill Hous­ing says it un­der­takes reg­u­lar fire risk assessments on all prop­er­ties it owns or man­ages.

A spokesman for the com­pany said: “Th­ese are car­ried out by qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als and if any risk is dis­cov­ered, we act quickly to fix it. We also reg­u­larly in­spect larger blocks to en­sure es­cape routes are kept clear.

“Re­cent in­spec­tions of sev­eral heat­ing sys­tems in in­di­vid­ual prop­er­ties un­cov­ered some is­sues with the con­di­tion and per­for­mance of some hot wa­ter cylin­ders.

“As a re­sult, we are ar­rang­ing a health check of all heat­ing sys­tem units over the next three weeks.

“Our staff have been in con­tact with res­i­dents since the fire was re­ported [on Fri­day Novem­ber 17].

“A let­ter was sent to res­i­dents on Tues­day [Novem­ber 21] ad­vis­ing them about the heat­ing sys­tem health check and that was fol­lowed by an­other up­date sent out on Fri­day [Novem­ber 22].

“We strive to keep res­i­dents in­formed as best we can, as well as li­ais­ing di­rectly with af­fected house­holds and field­ing queries that come in to us.”

MUM SAYS SHE ‘BEGGED’ HOUS­ING AS­SO­CI­A­TION TO ACT MONTHS BE­FORE BLAZE AT FLATS

IM­AGE: JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/GETTY IM­AGES

Lon­don Fire Brigade warned the in­ci­dent ‘could have had a very dif­fer­ent out­come’ as there were no smoke alarms in the West Dray­ton flat

IM­AGE: GOOGLE MAPS

Fire broke out at a block of flats in Park Lodge Av­enue, West Dray­ton

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