High rise fire safety fears to be addressed

Moredun tenants have voiced worries
Moredun tenants have voiced worries
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Concerns over fire procedures in tower blocks in the city continue to be raised as residents question how safe they are in their own homes.

Unease among tenants in the south of the city has peaked after the death toll from the Grenfell Tower fire rose to 79.

In London, Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said five people had been formally identified and the rest were “sadly” missing and presumed dead.

And now the secretary of Moredun 4 Multis Residents Association, Niel Hansen, has arranged a public meeting to help allay the fears of tenants in Edinburgh.

“We’ve had a number of residents contact us saying they have various concerns about fire safety within the multi-storey blocks,” he said.

“We have organised a meeting with the fire service to try and address some of these concerns and help reassure residents about their safety.”

Mr Hansen continued: “The fact is that there is sprinkler systems in only 1 per cent of the high rises in the country – that’s a cause for concern.

“I have also had reports confirmed that the fire ladders don’t reach the top level in the block.”

All six of the high-rise blocks at Moredun – Castleview House, Forteviot House, Little France House, Marytree House, Moncrieffe House and Moredun House – are 15 storeys high. Residents are worried that ladders only reach to level 12.

“However, I contacted the fire brigade directly after the incident in London with some of the residents’ concerns,” Mr Hansen said. “They have been extraordinarily helpful and have reassured us and bent over backwards to offer to come to a meeting.”

Inverleith SNP councillor Gavin Barrie, a former firefighter, said residents should be reassured that the circumstances suspected of leading to the tragedy in London don’t exist in Edinburgh high rises.

“The city of Edinburgh tower blocks don’t have a history of fires that have spread outside the residency of ignition, which is because of the way in which the buildings were constructed and the professionalism of local firefighters.

“And when it comes to sprinklers – any firefighter or former firefighter would suggest that sprinklers can only be a safe addition to a premises, but they do come with their own risks. For example, if they are set off accidentally, they can flood entire blocks.”

But council chiefs who met Fire Scotland representatives yesterday said any recommendations that come from the service’s full report will be implemented, with money being made available to do so.

Edinburgh Labour group leader Cammy Day said he had raised the question of sprinkler installation .

“There is no issue about resourcing, we’ll find the money from the Housing Revenue Account. If that’s £8 million, we have the resource.

“Every multi-storey block has also been visited by local housing managers – they’ve met with local concierge 
teams to address any issues that have been raised and we will be looking to communicate to ­residents what refurbishments to buildings have taken place in the past, what 
was done during the refurbishment and what materials were used.”

The Moredun public meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 27 at 6pm in the Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre