London

Two fires a day in London high rise flats 'show landlords must act'

Tower Block Image copyright Getty AFP
Image caption Six people died in a fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, south-east London, in 2009

Fire chiefs have called for landlords to act after figures showed nearly two fires a day are reported in London's high rise flats.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) figures showed there were 684 fires in high rise flats in 2014.

A brigade survey also showed residents would make "potentially life threatening decisions" in the event of a fire.

Fire chiefs said it was landlords' responsibility to protect tenants.

LFB has launched a campaign to raise awareness following recommendations of a coroner after the inquest into the deaths of six people in a south-east London tower block fire.

Coroner Frances Kirkham wrote to communities secretary Eric Pickles and Southwark Council in 2013.

'Very concerning'

LFB deputy commissioner Rita Dexter said: "These figures are very concerning. Landlords are responsible for ensuring their tenants have the information they need to make a safe choice should they be faced with a fire in their home."

The brigade reported that 50% of those questioned said they would get out of their flat even if the fire was elsewhere in the building.

But Ms Dexter said: "Flats and maisonettes are built to give some protection from fire - walls, floors and doors will hold back flames and smoke for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 60. So if there is a fire elsewhere in the building but not inside your home you are usually safer staying in your flat unless the fire or smoke is directly affecting you."

Landlords are also responsible for communal areas in purpose built blocks such as hallways, stairways and corridors and the brigade wants to see them do more to ensure they are kept clear.

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