The H&F response to the Grenfell Tower fire
H&F Council announces £20million Fire Safety Plus package
Following the Grenfell Tower fire last month, H&F Council has been reviewing fire safety across the borough.
Letters to residents
- Letter to residents of Edward Woods - New date for fire safety meeting 4 July - 30 June (pdf 66KB)
- Letter to residents of Charecroft estate - Fire safety at Charecroft - what we're doing - 29 June (pdf 97KB)
- Letter to residents in all tower blocks - What we're doing to make you safe - 29 June (pdf 300KB)
- Letter to residents of Edward Woods and Charecroft estates - 17 June (pdf 132KB)
Window panels to be replaced at Charecroft Estate
After the fire at Shepherds Court in August last year, the fire brigade initially said the design of the building meant there had been ‘no rapid fire growth’. They were able to access water supplies at the top of the building and bring the fire under control quickly.
However, the following February, they did raise concerns about the external panels below lounge windows, saying they ‘may have contributed to the external fire spread’. They stopped short of advising us to remove these panels. Instead they asked us to do further safety tests on the panels. In March this year, we commissioned one of the leading firms of specialist fire safety consultants to carry out these extra tests. We expect their report in August, when we’ll have a clearer idea of the risk they pose.
But initial indications are that these panels should be replaced, so we have now decided to remove and replace all the window panels, in all four Charecroft blocks. We already have plans in place to replace all the windows on all blocks at Charecroft.
We are also working on a programme to install sprinklers in selected high-rise blocks.
Families being housed in H&F
After the fire, we had more than 50 families affected by the fire in hotels in Hammersmith & Fulham.
Each of them were visited by H&F social workers and housing officers to make sure they were receiving the support and practical help they neede. H&F staff continued to visit them every day and helped any new families that arrived.
“Support for these traumatised families from RBKC, and latterly from the combined Grenfell Fire Response Team, has been slow to reach many of the people who have arrived in our borough,” said H&F Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan. “So we stepped up to make sure they were getting what they need. Whether that’s a mobile phone to keep in touch with relatives, transport to school or bereavement counselling, we’re there for them.
“Thanks to the incredible generosity of local people, community organisations and businesses, we also had an extensive supply of clothes, toiletries, toys and other supplies. We were very pleased to welcome these families into our community and that they got the support they need.”
H&F Council is also arranged hot meals for people placed in hotels without full catering.
High-rise fire safety in H&F
In Hammersmith & Fulham, we have 15 council housing blocks of 12 storeys or more. Our tallest buildings are three, 23-storey blocks on Edward Woods estate in North Kensington.
We have reviewed fire safety, and have fire risk assessments for all these blocks.
We also have some of the country’s best independent experts validating our Fire Risk Assessments as part of our action plan following the Shepherds Court fire in August 2016.
We are working on plans to install sprinkler systems in some of our tower blocks.
Fire Brigade advice - are you prepared?
Residents are being reminded of London Fire Brigade’s advice to be prepared and to make sure the whole family knows what to do in a fire.
The fire brigade updated their advice on 22 June 2017 on when to get out or to stay put in a tower block fire.
The fire brigade offer residents a free home fire safety check. You can book a home fire safety visit online or call 0800 028 4428.
We are doing all we can to improve fire safety in our tower blocks. Part of that involves helping residents to keep their own homes as safe as possible.
The London Fire Brigade has warned that overloaded electric sockets can lead to fires. So we are offering all residents the chance to swap adaptor sockets for safer block extension leads, with inbuilt circuit breakers.
In addition, if you do not have a smoke or heat detector in your property, please contact our customer service centre on 0800 023 4499 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will arrange a convenient time for installation.
Public Health England also released a statement allaying fears about the risk of smoke to local residents following the fire (pdf).