Council reassures public

Newcastle City Council is carrying out checks on residential buildings over 18 metres high in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Thirty people are now known to have died in the fire which engulfed the 24-storey block in West London in the early hours of Wednesday. The cause of the fire and how it spread so quickly is under investigation.

Your Homes Newcastle which manages 38 high rise blocks on behalf of the city council has reassured tenants that the type of cladding used on the Grenfell Tower has not been used on any of its buildings.

As a precautionary measure, the council is now checking building regulation application records for older residential buildings it does not own. This is to establish if similar cladding works have been carried out as part of historic refurbishments.

The findings will be used to inform our risk assessments regarding the buildings and passed for information to the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said: “The country is in a state of shock at the terrible events in West London – my heart goes out to all those affected by this terrible tragedy.

“It’s critically important that we find out as quickly as possible what caused the fire to spread so rapidly.

“I want to reassure tenants that Your Homes Newcastle and the city council are doing all that they can to establish if the cladding used on the Grenfell Tower has been used elsewhere.

“YHN have made it clear that none of its blocks have that type of cladding. But it’s important that we check if other residential blocks – not owned by the council - could also have this type of cladding."

Alan Robson, TWFRS Acting Assistant Chief Officer, said: “The Grenfell Tower fire was tragic, and very rare.

“We’d like to reassure residents that we work very closely with local authorities and landlords to provide information on fire safety. We will continue to work with all housing providers over the next few weeks to support them and their tenants. In addition, if anyone requires fire safety advice for their homes or businesses, they should not hesitate to contact us.”

All council-owned blocks are constructed with segregation which means that if a fire breaks out in one flat it is contained within it. All blocks also have dry risers installed, which allow the fire and rescue service to distribute water at each floor without running hoses.

Blocks over 15 storeys high have wet risers, which supply water to the fire and rescue service on demand. The fire and rescue service also have universal fobs giving them access to all blocks in an emergency.

All tenants who live in multi-storey blocks will receive a hand-delivered newsletter in the next few days, which clarifies what they need to do in the event of a fire.

Residents are being reminded that in the event of an emergency the fire procedure continues to be “if in doubt, get out.”

YHN staff are assessing all high rise buildings for signs of damage or misuse every. Tenants with any concerns can ring 0191 278 8574.