'No fire alarms, no sprinklers... It's a miracle no one died': Residents claim Romford block devastated by fire had no working safety measures
PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:15 14 August 2019
Residents of the Romford block of flats which went up in flames last week have blasted the alleged lack of working fire safety measures inside the building.
Eight fire engines and around 60 firefighters were called to a fire at the block of flats in Raven Close at 4.25pm on Thursday, August 8.
The entire roof of the block of flats was damaged by fire, and housing association L&Q was forced to find 10 families emergency accommodation over the weekend while the damage was investigated.
But some residents claim that, as the fire was raging, not one safety measure in the entire building worked the way it was supposed to.
One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Recorder: "There were no fire alarms, none of the sprinklers came on, there might as well have been no fire safety at all.
"One of my neighbours was asleep and if it hadn't been for someone who got outside and thought to ring all the buzzers to get everyone up and out then people would have died."
Residents have also revealed that firefighters rushing to tackle the flames - many of whom have been praised for their courageous response to the incident - were unable to find the block's water access points, and so were allegedly forced to run hoses from neighbouring blocks to tackle the fire.
Another resident told the Recorder: "It was chaos - the block only has one exit and we were all bottle-necked trying to get out.
"The stairs were awful and everyone was panicking, I'm just glad we all got out.
"It's a miracle no one was seriously hurt or even killed."
The Recorder understands that, as the fire broke out on the roof of the block of flats, investigators at L&Q believe the smoke rose away from the sensors installed inside the building, and so these were never tripped and no alarms activated.
L&Q's internal investigation into the fire safety measures in the block and whether or not they operated correctly is still ongoing.
A spokeswoman added: "Our residents safety and wellbeing is our number one priority and we're doing everything we can to support the affected families.
"The design and construction of this property met the expected standards and the fire safety equipment in the building worked as expected.
"Investigations are ongoing but we believe that no smoke or fire entered the flats prior to the evacuation of residents and smoke alarms would not have sounded before this."