Ten­ants told flats are fire safe

The Oban Times - - Front Page -

THE BOSS of a so­cial hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion in Soroba, Oban, has said gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion was fol­lowed when work was car­ried out on build­ings in the area.

Speak­ing in the af­ter­math of the tower block fire in Lon­don, Alas­tair Mac­Gre­gor, of Ar­gyll Com­mu­nity Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (ACHA), said the or­gan­i­sa­tion had a proac­tive es­tate man­age­ment pres­ence in the area, and re­minded res­i­dents of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to­wards fire safety.

But a res­i­dent of the flats, Claire Ri­zos, of Clairty Safety So­lu­tions Ltd, be­lieves an ur­gent dis­cus­sion is re­quired over risks in the build­ings.

Ms Ri­zos said: ‘Al­though our flats in Ar­gyll are nowhere near the height of Gren­fell Tower, we need a com­mu­nity dis­cus­sion about fire safety.

‘There is of­ten not great fire sep­a­ra­tion be­tween floors. Over the years, fire safety mea­sures which were in place when the flats were built have been dam­aged by al­ter­ations made by in­di­vid­ual own­ers.

‘This is in ad­di­tion to the bro­ken panes of fire-re­sis­tant glaz­ing, stopped-open fire doors and com­bustible items in the stair­ways. I’ve no­ticed flat doors have fre­quently been re­placed with doors which are not fire-rated. This means that if there is a fire in the flat, the fire will break through and af­fect the stair­way much more quickly, plac­ing other res­i­dents at greater risk. This is not gen­er­ally a prob­lem with hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tion-owned homes as they are aware of the fire rat­ing.

For­mer watch com­man­der at Oban fire sta­tion Paul Fin­ni­gan said: ‘What a hor­rific in­ci­dent for fire­fight­ers and the emer­gency ser­vices to deal with.

‘The ‘stay put’ pol­icy only works if there’s no fire or smoke spread and the pas­sive safety mea­sures work. Early warn­ing of fire, via in­ter­con­nect­ing fire alarm sys­tems lead­ing to early in­ter­ven­tion and at­ten­dance of the fire ser­vice, is cru­cial.

‘It is not my in­ten­tion to scare the Soroba res­i­dents, but the ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of fire safety ar­range­ments, in­formed by a suit­able fire safety risk assess­ment (which is re­viewed) is cru­cial for ev­ery­one’s safety and to be com­pli­ant with the Fire (Scot­land) Act 2005.’

Mr Mac­Gre­gor added: ‘ACHA is a mi­nor­ity hous­ing owner in Soroba. The spec­i­fi­ca­tion that ACHA uses for re­pairs and im­prove­ments such as re­cladding are com­pli­ant with the re­quired build­ing reg­u­la­tions.

‘ACHA has a proac­tive es­tate man­age­ment pres­ence in Soroba. Where de­bris is iden­ti­fied as a safety hazard, it is moved timeously and we re­mind our ten­ants of their obli­ga­tions.’

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