Don’t risk the horrors of Grenfell – fix the issues

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Exactly 11 months ago, 71 people lost their lives as a tower block, plagued with safety hazards erupted into flames.

The inferno spread as it ignited combustible cladding on the outside of the London high-rise.

Such was the ferocity and speed of the fire, people were left trapped in the flat, doomed to burn to a cinder.

It was a blaze that horrified the nation and sent hurried council executives up and down the country into a frantic panic as they assessed their own tower blocks.

In the days and weeks following the disaster, at least 120 tower blocks were found to have the same deadly cladding – including some in the Portsmouth area – with councils pledging to rip them off and replace them.

Yet here we are, nearing the anniversary of the disaster – and here we are once again highlighting more fire safety fears and defects at a residential block.

Today The News reveals the catalogue of still-to-be-resolved fire safety woes at Furze Court in Fareham – issues that are making inspectors at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service uneasy.

From covered fire alarms, electric arcing from appliances, hazardous fire escapes and inadequate ventilation. Without wanting to stoke fears, this is surely a recipe for disaster.

And yet as we reveal today, the firm charged with maintaining the site – Ensign Management – has known about the issues for months.

Ensign insists it has carried out works to address most of the issues and that it employs its own fire safety inspector to carry out regular check.

But these claims don’t seem to have reassured residents, the area’s MP or the fire service.

The point is, Grenfell is still fresh in our minds. These issues should never have existed in the first place – yet they do.

That’s unacceptable.

Ensign – and other housing maintenance firms across the UK – need to take note: make sure properties are up-to-scratch because nobody wants to repeat the horrors burned in the nation’s psyche after Grenfell.