Southwark Council has sought to reassure residents their homes are safe, following this morning’s news of the deadly fire at the Grenfell tower block in Kensington.
The fire, which began shortly after 12am this morning at the 24-storey tower, has killed at least six people and injured more than 70. There are numerous reports of people missing.
Making reference to the deadly 2009 Lakanal House fire in Camberwell, Southwark’s cabinet member for housing, Stephanie Cryan, has today written to residents, and made a public statement to the media, stating that Southwark’s high-rise homes are fire-safe.
Councillor Cryan’s letter to residents said: “It is particularly raw for us in Southwark, bringing back dreadful memories of the Lakanal fire in 2009 in which six people tragically lost their lives.
“I understand that many residents living in high-rise blocks in Southwark will be concerned, and I wanted to write to you straight away to reassure you that Southwark has carried out a huge programme of works in recent years to improve the safety of our tower blocks.”
Her letter also lists a number of measures the council undertook to prevent a repeat of the Lakanal House fire, which killed six. They include:
- Following the fire the council began an ongoing programme to ensure all its properties received a regular full fire risk assessment, beginning with those deemed to be high risk.
- Since 2009 the council has spent £62 million on its fire risk assessment programme and associated fire safety works for all its council housing in the borough.
- We continue to invest as necessary as part of the ongoing major works programme.
- The council works closely with London Fire Brigade (LFB) and meets regularly with them, both on an operational and fire safety level, informing them of progress on the risk profile of the borough and other issues.
- LFB assists the council in advising residents on fire safety and fitting smoke alarms inside their homes.
- In February 2015, all fire risk works to all high rise and lower/more complex housing were complete.
- Since then the council has completed a programme to fit state of the art smoke detection systems to the dwellings in these blocks, and has a rolling programme underway to introduce a similar system in all remaining blocks.
In a statement to the media, Cllr Cryan said: “Events in west London are still unfolding and Southwark’s thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower.
“Sadly in Southwark we know too well the terrible impact of a large fire, and following the tragedy at Lakanal in 2009, we have made huge efforts to increase safety across all our blocks.
“My priority today is to reassure local residents about the extent of those works, and the constant efforts of officers to help make our blocks as safe as they can be here in Southwark as well as reaching out to our colleagues at Kensington & Chelsea council to offer any help that we can.”