Luton Council reassures tenants after Kensington blaze

Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Luton Council has been quick to reassure tenants in its high rise flats after the devastating fire in Kensington on Wednesday.

Cllr Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for housing, has stressed that all Luton’s high-rise blocks have current fire risk assessments in place.

There are twelve high-rise blocks in Luton (defined as seven storeys or more). Ten of those are fourteen storeys, and two are seven storeys.

All Luton’s high-rise blocks are inspected every morning to ensure that communal areas are clear of debris and rubbish chutes are clear. Any actions required are dealt with immediately.

All flats owned by the Council have a fire check door installed that meets current regulations, with intumescent strips within door frames and letterboxes, and also hard-wired smoke and heat detectors in place that are checked annually. Communal areas are decorated in flame-retardant paint, and original bin chutes have been replaced with built-in fire protection.

Cllr Shaw said: “The Council works closely alongside Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS) to ensure our high-rise blocks of flats are as safe as possible, carrying out routine joint auditing, inspections and training exercises.

“We require residents to take actions where any particular issues of concern are identified in individual flats. Additionally, the construction of Luton’s high-rise blocks also means individual flats are compartmented which effectively protects residents in the event of a fire.”

In Luton’s high-rise blocks, the advice given to residents on sign-up to their accommodation in the event of a fire is to stay inside your flat with the door closed, and BFRS will arrange evacuation if necessary. If the fire is in your flat, get out quickly, close the door and raise the alarm. Do not use lifts in the event of a fire.

Cllr Hazel Simmons, leader of Luton Borough Council, has today sent thoughts and prayers from the people of Luton to everyone affected by the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower, Kensington.

​Cllr Simmons said: “We are deeply distressed to have seen the disturbing images from West London, our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected.

“There will be many questions raised over the cause of this incident, and fire safety in high-rise blocks generally. Luton Borough Council takes the issue of fire safety in our high-rise blocks of flats extremely seriously, and I want to assure residents that we will work as a priority to understand the contributing factors behind this incident in detail when they are known, and any recommendations that may arise.”

If any residents have any concerns about fire safety in Luton’s high-rise blocks, please call the Council’s BTS division (Building and Technical Services) and 0800 0147 333.