Fears after 20th ar­son at­tack at tower block

Stockport Express - - Front Page - ALEX SCAPENS alex.scapens@men­media.co.uk @AlexS­capen­sMEN

SE­CU­RITY staff have been brought in to pa­trol a high rise tower block that has fallen vic­tim to an ar­son­ist around 20 times in three months.

Res­i­dents of Hol­low End Tow­ers, Brin­ning­ton, have also spo­ken out and asked Stock­port MP Ann Cof­fey for help as the fires con­tinue.

The lat­est was on Tues­day af­ter­noon, the sixth since the pre­vi­ous Satur­day, and all have in­volved lit ma­te­rial be­ing put down the bin chute.

In July there were 10 in a week and res­i­dents fear that one could es­ca­late into a tragedy.

As ef­forts are stepped up to catch the per­son re­spon­si­ble, Stock­port Homes has also em­ployed se­cu­rity staff at the flats dur­ing the af­ter­noons and overnight.

Sarah Ormerod, 35, a mum who lives on the first floor, said: “It is frus­trat­ing and scary as I have four chil­dren and live op­po­site one of the bin chutes.

“One of my sons doesn’t want to stay at home any­more. The po­lice, fire and Stock­port Homes are do­ing ev­ery­thing they can but this per­son needs catch­ing, they are putting lives at risk.

“Ev­ery­one is wor­ried and anx­ious, peo­ple are say­ing, ‘is it go­ing to take some­one dy­ing be­fore this stops?’. One per­son has even made a sec­ond door to stop smoke get­ting in their flat.”

The 12-storey block, which is off Northum­ber­land Road and has 66 flats, has also had CCTV in­stalled but some of this has since been ripped down. And Stock­port Homes has now locked the bin chutes and is­sued res­i­dents with keys. The hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion has also given all res­i­dents fire safety leaflets.

The fire ser­vice, which typ­i­cally send around 20 fire­fight­ers to each call out, has also warned the ar­son­ist lives are be­ing put at risk.

Al­though the room to which the bin chutes lead has a drench­ing sys­tem for fires some have been too big for it to cope with and have smoke-logged all cor­ri­dors.

Chris Mur­phy, a Brin­ning­ton coun­cil­lor, said: “The se­cu­rity is to al­lay res­i­dents’ fears, es­pe­cially after what hap­pened at Gren­fell Tower, tower block safety is a big is­sue.

“I would ap­peal for any­one with in­for­ma­tion to go to the po­lice, some­one knows who this is.”

Ann Cof­fey has pledged to speak to Stock­port Homes about the is­sue on res­i­dents’ be­half.

●●Hol­low End Tow­ers

●●Sarah Ormerod and son Lo­gan Bennett

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