Assurances sought over fire safety at high-rise flats

The multi-storey flats at Seymour Hill, Dunmurry. Pic by Google
The multi-storey flats at Seymour Hill, Dunmurry. Pic by Google

A local councillor has requested a written assurance from the NI Housing Executive about fire safety standards at the multi-storey flats in Dunmurry.

Following the terrible events in west London earlier this month when a massive blaze swept through the Grenfell Tower apartment block claiming the lives of at least 79 people, DUP Councillor Jonathan Craig is seeking assurances about fire safety measures and procedures in the high-rise flats at Seymour Hill and Conway.

Cllr Jonathan Craig.

Cllr Jonathan Craig.

“I am glad to say that none of the flats have the cladding that existed at Grenfell Tower,” he said. “However, listening to the comments of some of the Grenfell residents it has raised some concerning issues - the lack of any sprinkler system in the common hallways of the flats, the lack of smoke alarms in the hallways and the current safety policy of residents staying within their apartments while they await rescue.”

He continued: “I am fully aware that the Housing Executive have reviewed fire safety at the flats and have spoken to many of the residents. Given that this has been carried out I have got the agreement of the council to request in writing the results of the fire safety survey and to give us written assurance of the fire safety standards at the flats. Also a report from Building Control will be brought to the council regarding safety standards at the flats.”

The NI Housing Executive has given an assurance that it has “robust fire safety regimes” and carries out regular inspections in all of its 32 high rise buildings across Northern Ireland.

“Our high rise building design includes fire breaks on every floor - all blocks have fire resistant staircases with fire doors and smoke alarms in the communal areas,” a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, NIFRS personnel have been visiting residents in high rise residential blocks across Northern Ireland to talk to them about fire safety issues, stressing the importance of having a working smoke alarm and a fire escape plan should a fire occur either in their own flat or within the building.

Anyone concerned about fire safety should contact the NIFRS Prevention and Protection Department on 028 9266 4221 to speak to a fire officer.