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Fire safety risks exposed at care home and six-storey sheltered housing block

Resident says: "I was shocked. We are at risk"

14 August, 2018 — By William McLennan

Ten safety breaches were found at Carole House in Primrose Hill

THE London Fire Brigade has published a “shocking” list of safety failings discovered at a care home and a six-storey sheltered housing block.

Not-for-profit Central and Cecil Housing Trust has been ordered to carry out a raft of works at one property in Swiss Cottage and another overlooking Primrose Hill.

A 10-point list of failures was issued by the LFB after an inspection of Carole House – one of the blocks on the 250-home Oldfield estate in Regent’s Park Road.

Sally de Sousa, who lives on the estate, said: “I was shocked when I saw the list. Essentially it says we are at risk.”

Carole House is occupied by residents aged 55 and over. The majority live independently, but a proportion have limited mobility.

According to the LFB enforcement notice, the landlords failed to provide a “suitable method of giving warning in case of fire” at Carole House. It also listed a “failure to ensure employees receive adequate safety training”.

It added that there had been failure to “provide and/or maintain adequate and clearly indicated emergency routes and exits”.

At Compton Lodge, a grand Edwardian building in Harley Road that has been converted into a home for people requiring high levels of care, the LFB discovered seven safety breaches, including a “failure to make a suit- able and sufficient fire risk assessment”.

It also reported a “failure to provide adequate fire separation between floors” – a physical barrier required to stop flames tearing through a build- ing if fire breaks out.

Ms De Sousa, a former resident representative on the board of the trust, said a cultural change was needed within the organisation.

She added: “I have written many emails on behalf of the tenants over the years and people will come and talk to you and say “yes, yes”, but nothing really gets done. It’s silly, really, that they don’t listen to us. We are the best people to keep them from expensive lawsuits and deaths.”

The trust’s statement said: “C&C considers the safety of its resi- dents its highest priority and are thankful to the London Fire Brigade (LFB) for raising these issues with us.

“At the time of the LFB inspections both properties had under- gone fire risk assessments (FRAs) by independent qualified fire risk assessors.

The issues identified in the FRAs had been scheduled and work was in progress. All actions will be completed ahead of the required timescale advised by LFB.

“We are very pleased that the LFB has taken such an active role and helped us identify the additional safety works that were not picked up though our FRA process. We are deter- mined to take every step to continually improve our approach to fire safety.

“We are keen that our FRA process is as robust as possible and to ensure future inspections completed by our appointed independent assessors are continually improved.”

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