Residents at Lowestoft tower block reassured by fire chiefs following Grenfell Tower tragedy
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Residents at a high-rise block of flats in Lowestoft have been reassured by fire chiefs - a week on from the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service along with representatives from Waveney District Council visited the town's only tower block - St Peter's Court - to provide safety advice.
At the time of writing 79 people are presumed to have died in the London blaze.
The fire service spoke to residents at St Peter's Court today and distributed multi-language leaflets offering fire prevention and safety advice.
Representatives of the council's building control and housing department assessed the inside and outside of the building to check for any cladding, and will test it if required.
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Paul Goodman, group commander of prevention and protection, said: 'We are here to reassure the public in two ways. First of all, that our risk-based inspection programme that we undertake throughout the year includes premises like this. Secondly, following the tragic events in London that we are now more focused on flats and high rise buildings.'
He added: 'We are inspecting these buildings to gather information and make sure people feel safe in their homes. We are looking at the scheme management to make sure the risk assessment is suitable and sufficient.
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Mr Goodman also offered advice on preventing flat fires. He said: 'We have very few flat fires in Suffolk but it is important that the public stay vigilant. Conduct nightly checks, ensure that any smoke detection devices are working and have an escape plan ready in the event of a fire.'
Colin Posner, 75, a resident of the 16-story block, praised the council's reaction.
He said: 'They didn't muck about. The day after Grenfell the council came round and explained what was happening.'
'I'm very impressed with the council and fire service coming round. It's important, there are a lot of youngsters living in the building and they need reassuring.'
A Waveney District Council spokesman said: 'Today is being led by the fire service and as a council we are happy to support them.
'This is part on an ongoing cycle of safety and reassurance work to tower blocks of all sizes.'
Council says safety is first priority
'The thoughts of everyone at Waveney District Council are with those that have been affected by the terrible and tragic fire at Grenfell Tower. The safety of our residents is absolutely our first priority and a range of regular safety checks are made at St Peter's Court and all our council-owned housing.
'The most recent comprehensive fire risk assessment was conducted by an independent consultant in 2015 and the subsequent action plan presented us with an opportunity to make a range of improvements.
'Regular weekly and monthly checks are always carried out on door seals, extinguishers and alarm call points and we co-operate fully with the fire service - including allowing them to organise regular training programmes to maintain their familiarity with the building.
'In the last few years, major work to 'compartmentalise' small rooms and reduce the risk of fire spreading was completed and a sprinkler system was installed in the refuse area.'