Block that passed safety tests catches fire

Block that passed safety tests catches fire

REGENT COURT in Gateshead caught fire yesterday, with insulation and panelling having passed the government’s fire safety tests.

Chronicle Live reported on the fire at the block, with the building ‘the only one in the borough with sprinklers’, and requiring 34 firefighters to fight it. The news outlet noted that the building, according to the Gateshead Housing company, had seen its insulation and panelling pass the government’s fire safety tests, while health and safety inspectors also surveyed the building to ‘ensure it was up to fire safety standards’.

At this time, the cause of the fire ‘is still unknown’, while Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s chief fire officer Chris Lowther stated that the fire was a very ‘complex’ incident. At the time of reporting, white smoke ‘was seen pouring from the roof’ of the ten storey building, with residents evacuated to a nearby civic centre.

The housing company had sent out a newsletter last year stating that the blocks should continue to operate a stay put policy, while the building was the only such block in Gateshead fitted with gas. Work had been undertaken recently to upgrade heating systems, with a full fire safety upgrade undertaken in 2014 installing sprinklers in each flat and an upgraded fire alarm system. Mr Lowther noted that firefighters ‘are working incredibly hard in quite arduous conditions to tackle this fire’.