South East Wales

Grenfell Tower fire: Sprinkler concern for Cardiff council

The Maelfa, Llanedeyrn Image copyright Geograph/ Jaggery
Image caption The Maelfa, Llanedeyrn, is one of nine high rises in Cardiff

Sprinklers could be installed in council-owned Cardiff high rises after the Grenfell Tower fire.

Seventy-nine people are either dead or missing presumed dead after the London fire last week.

Cardiff council will now review all safety procedures and discuss "the need for sprinklers" in its nine high rises with the fire service.

Swansea council has alarm systems in its 11 high rises, while Flintshire also has sprinklers in its three.

There are nine high rises in Cardiff, in areas such as Gabalfa, Whitchurch, Butetown and Llanedeyrn, with most 11 storeys but the highest 16.

While the Welsh Government made it compulsory for sprinklers to be fitted in all new-builds from 2016, the move was not retrospective.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police have warned they may never be able to identify all the victims

In a briefing, cabinet member for housing Lynda Thorne, said this meant it "cannot be applied to existing unaltered premises".

However, despite regular risk assessments taking place, the local authority will now discuss the need for installing sprinklers.

In a letter to tenants following the London incident, it said the fire service advises the safest place for residents during a blaze is within their flat, unless it is directly affected.

"Each high-rise flat is built to be fire proof; this means fire should be contained within the individual flat," it read.

"It is worth noting that while there have been instances of fire in our high-rise blocks in the past, none have spread to adjoining properties."

The letter added that cladding used at Grenfell Tower, said to have contributed to the fire spreading, is different to that on Cardiff high rises.

"You may be aware that there is concern that a new cladding system installed at Grenfell Tower may have contributed to the spread of fire," the letter added.

"While several of our high-rise blocks were over clad in the early 1990s, this was done using traditional fire-retardant materials, different from those used in London.

"Your safety is our utmost concern and in order to satisfy any doubts you may have we will be engaging an independent firm of consultants to review the integrity of existing cladding systems."

A review of cladding used is now taking place at Channel View, Grangetown and The Maelfa, Llanedeyrn.

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