Tyne and Wear Fire Service checks safety of high rise buildings

Crews from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service have begun visiting every high rise building in the area, to reassure residents in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Over the next few weeks, firefighters will carry out fire safety checks and meet people living in 182 buildings, all of which are over six storeys high.

As well as giving advice, officers are testing fire doors and internal hoses to update their records and make residents like Anne Johnstone, who lives in a block of flats in Newcastle, feel safer:

Anne Johnstone has lived on the 11th floor of a block of flats in West Denton for 21 years. Credit: ITV News

“It’s very reassuring. Especially what’s happened over the last few weeks. But it makes you feel safer when you know they’re there.”

Anne, 76 has lived on the 11th floor of a block of flats in West Denton for 21 years. She told ITV News Tyne Tees that seeing what happened at Grenfell Tower has made her more concerned about safety.

“It frightens you at first. You think it could happen to us. You live in a high rise flat. You do feel a little bit concerned. But you’ve got to get over that and live your life. I know I feel safe in here, and I think most people do.”

Tower block, West Denton, Newcastle Credit: ITV News

The fire service does checks on residents all year round, but the latest action has been brought together as a direct result of what happened in London three weeks ago.

Eighty people have been confirmed dead in the Grenfell tower tragedy and that number is expected to increase.

An investigation is underway into how it spread – and whether flammable cladding, on the outside of the building, played a part.

The tower block being checked, in Newcastle, has passed all of its safety regulations and has no cladding.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service carrying out safety checks. Credit: ITV News

I think the event at Grenfell Tower, in London, is an event in a lifetime. It’s not a regular event. Most of us will never see it in our lifetime.

As a nation there’s been a lot of people, particularly who live in high rise blocks, who need that reassurance and need that confidence that their emergency services and their housing providers are giving them some confidence that the buildings they live in are safePETER IVESON, TYNE AND WEAR FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE