Tenants told flats are fire safe
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.’