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South Kilburn residents tell meeting of fire safety concerns at tower blocks

PUBLISHED: 15:26 02 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:26 03 August 2017

The South Kilburn Labour Party held a meeting with residents to discuss a number of issues, including fire safety. Speakers on hand to provide some insight included (Left to right) Leslie Barson, Steve Pirolli (Chalcot resident), Pete Firmin , Sara Callaway (Kilburn Labour Party), Gareth Beeton (Fire Brigade Union), Phil Rose (Campaign against Haringey Development Vehicle ( Picture: Crossroads Audio Visual Collective

The South Kilburn Labour Party held a meeting with residents to discuss a number of issues, including fire safety. Speakers on hand to provide some insight included (Left to right) Leslie Barson, Steve Pirolli (Chalcot resident), Pete Firmin , Sara Callaway (Kilburn Labour Party), Gareth Beeton (Fire Brigade Union), Phil Rose (Campaign against Haringey Development Vehicle ( Picture: Crossroads Audio Visual Collective

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Residents in South Kilburn have expressed deep concerns over fire safety and it has emerged that people who live in tower blocks have no idea what procedure to follow in a fire.

Members of South Kilburn Labour Party held a meeting last Thursday at Granville Hall, in Granville Road, Kilburn, where they raised a number of issues including fire safety.

One audience member asked what people were supposed to do if an alarm sounded in a tower block but no one knew.

At the meeting, one resident described how she had spoken to a fire marshal stationed outside George House, which failed post Grenfell fire government testing on cladding, and quickly realised he had no knowledge of what to do if a fire actually occured apart from ‘call 999’.

A spokesperson for L&Q Housing, which owns George House tower block, said: “These patrols are in place to provide surveillance and alert trained operatives and/or the fire brigade to any safety issues immediately.

“We will be undertaking a programme to remove this cladding/insulation combination and replace it with a type which meets new safety requirements.”

One George House resident, who didn’t want to be named, said: “Neither my partner nor I have any idea what the fire safety protocols and procedures are.

“We don’t even know if there is any sort of integrated fire alarm system. We have been advised not to have anything flammable in our apartment which is nonsensical. L&Q have been prompt and communicative about the testing of the cladding and providing fire wardens. However, fundamentals about evacuation procedures have been overlooked.”

Abdirazak Abdi has formerly lived in Dickens House and Gloucester House, in South Kilburn. He feels that the towers aren’t properly equipped to deal with an emergency.

“If a fire happened in these towers, the staircases would not be able to handle the traffic. They’re just too narrow,” he said.

Sara Callaway, of South Kilburn Labour party, who chaired the meeting, supported calls for residents to form tenant associations to share their concerns with the council.

A Brent Council spokeswoman said: “We are organising meetings, starting this month, with council representatives, Brent Housing Partnership and the fire brigade for residents to air any concerns they have.”

Advice on how to deal in the event of any fire can be found here http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/LatestNewsReleases_Reissuetowerblockadvice.asp

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