Fire checks in Lancaster after Grenfell Tower deaths

Bowland Tower, Lancaster University.
Bowland Tower, Lancaster University.
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Checks have been carried out on high rise blocks in Lancaster in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Lancaster City Council and Lancaster University have both reviewed fire procedures after the London tower block fire where 79 people are thought to have lost their lives.

The blaze in the Kensington tower block on June 14 started in a fridge freezer.

Outside cladding and insulation failed safety tests, said police, who are considering manslaughter, health and safety and fire safety charges.

Lancaster City Council has three high rise blocks of flats on Mainway in Skerton.

None of them use the type of cladding made of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) at Grenfell Tower.

Council officers met with fire crews last Friday to carry out a safety inspection of the Mainway flats.

“As part of our management of fire safety we currently undertake fire safety checks every three months on all blocks of flats,” said Coun Andrew Warriner, Cabinet member with responsibility for housing.

“Fire risk assessments are undertaken by independent assessors and are then periodically reviewed. The most recent review of Mainway was in 2016.

“We maintain an ongoing dialogue and relationship with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and have an ongoing programme of fire safety maintenance and routines in compliance with their recommendations to ensure the safety of residents.”

Lancaster University officials have also met with fire officers to carry out checks at their 11 storey on-campus student block Bowland Tower.

In 2012/13 the university refurbished the Tower installing sprinkler systems and upgrading fire alarms, as well as bringing in other fire mitigation measures.

“Lancaster University takes fire safety very seriously,” said Mark Swindlehurst, Director of Facilities.

“New students are given fire safety talks shortly after arrival, and new staff are given fire safety inductions.

“There are regular drills to ensure staff and students are aware of how to exit buildings safely in the event of an emergency, and staff and students are able to access fire safety information at any time through signage and numerous online and digital platforms.”