Monday 10 January 2022

UPDATE - case taken up by ward councillor. LETTER: A letter to Brent Council regarding my safety in the event of a serious fire in my high-rise block

 Dear Editor, 

How can I get Brent Housing Management to fix the self closing fire doors in my high-rise, William Dunbar House, South Kilburn.

At the Grenfell Inquiry, self closing fire doors that did not self close were identified as the second highest issue after unsafe cladding and as a result I have been emailing the council to fix 2 self closing doors that do not self close and which are part of my only fire escape in my high-rise, one on the 3rd floor & one on the 5th floor but after 3 years, they still have not been fixed and everyone's safety is under threat because of this.

I had a response to one of my emails from a housing officer who said "Fire Safety is not included in my job description" and he failed to pass it on to another officer, who did have Fire Safety in their job description.

After 3 years I decided to ask the London Fire Brigade to solve the issue but I was shocked by their reply, which said they were not responsible for Fire Safety in council blocks and they forwarded my email back to Brent Council who failed to take any action as usual.

Now I am asking Wembley Matters to get a response from Brent Council and get them to fix the 2 self closing door in my block.  However if there are at least 2 damaged doors in my block, I am sure there must be many more damaged doors throughout the rest of Brent's high-rise stock and the council should carry out an urgent inspection of all their high-rises to check to see if there are any other self closing fire doors that do not close.

I realise how important this issue is after the tragic fire in the Bronx that was caused by a non self closing door that stayed open, allowing fire and smoke to escape to the rest of the building, resulting in so many tragic deaths.

My fear is that my block could be next, unless Brent Housing fix all the damaged fire doors across the borough, or we could end up like Grenfell or yesterday's fire in the Bronx..  

Thank you Martin.
John Healy
UPDATE: Following publication of this letter on Wembley Matters a ward councillor has got in touch with John to take up the case.


David Walton said...

Back in year 2000, Dickens House a 16 storey tower in South Kilburn was found by a Brent survey to have only 2 of these self closing fire doors working correctly in the entire block! It took carpenters a couple of weeks to emergency make good all of the defective fire doors.

Ongoing maintenance is the best option, weekly checks, as when maintained well as designed these fire doors are definitely very effective in allowing tenants safe conditions for fire escape.

Emma Tait said...

Wonder whether John has raised the matter with ward councillors and what they are doing to get matter resolved for his block + raising as a wider issue for Brent Council?

Martin Francis said...

John had raised the issue with a ward councillor some time ago but had no response. Following publication of the letter, as the Update states, he was contacted by the councillor who is taking the issue up with officers. I have also asked the Council for a response via the Press Office but have heard nothing as yet.

Philip Grant said...

Good to learn that a ward councillor is finally taking up the issue with officers, but why only after a blog was published on "Wembley Matters"?

Why did none of them take it up when John first contacted them direct? All ward councillors get a basic annual allowance of over £12k, to cover their time and expenses in dealing with problems raised with them by residents!