Evacuated high rise investigation continues

Evacuated high rise investigation continues

BRADFORD COUNCIL is still investigating the fire safety failures that caused Appleton Point to be evacuated last week, and is working with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS).

Earlier this month, residents of the high rise were given 24 hours to leave their homes after WYFRS identified fire safety concerns. The evacuation of the 160 bed high rise was over what WYFRS called ‘serious fire safety deficiencies’, with WYFRS adding that the property did not have an ‘appropriate’ fire warning system, and raising its concerns over the building’s cladding as well.

Bradford Council was working to find accommodation for residents affected, while WYFRS said it had been ‘made aware’ of other serious issues including ‘breaches in compartmentation’. Resident San Nigre stated that those evacuated were ‘confused and scared’, adding that residents were only given 24 hours to leave, while WYFRS officers had ‘previously visited’ the property, shutting the underground car park at the end of 2018 ‘amid safety concerns’. He added: ‘The fire service came last night and did some tests on the building and then told us that we all have to leave.

‘We’ve been told there is a problem with the cladding on the building, and the fire service don’t want another Grenfell. I’m angry because the fire service have been looking at this building for months but have given us less than 24 hours notice to get out.’

Dave Walton, deputy chief fire officer of WYFRS, stated that the building had received a prohibition notice, and added: ‘A prohibition notice, which means the building can no longer be occupied, is a last resort and is not a measure taken lightly by the fire service. However, where the fire safety measures within the building are insufficient to such a degree, we have no other option.’

Telegraph and Argus reported that the council is ‘still investigating’ the fire safety failures, and has ‘vowed to make sure’ that the building’s owner ‘complies’ with fire safety standards. All residents were re-homed last week, with the council continuing to work with WYFRS and the building’s owner to ‘make sure the building is up to scratch’, with outstanding issues ‘taken further if it is necessary’.

A council spokesperson said: ‘The Council will continue to work closely with WYFRS and those responsible for the building to ensure that the building complies with the necessary fire safety and housing standards. These actions could identify evidence that might justify legal action at a future date but until those investigations are completed it would be inappropriate for the council to comment further.’