Residents in Portsmouth block of flats worried as fire alarms don’t sound

The fire-damaged flat Outlook House in Goldsmith Avenue, Portsmouth
The fire-damaged flat Outlook House in Goldsmith Avenue, Portsmouth
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CONCERNS have been raised after alarms did not go off following a fire which ‘destroyed’ a flat.

Residents living at the Outlook building, on Goldsmith Avenue in Fratton, Portsmouth said they were worried about the lack of alarms and having to rely on police to wake them up during the early morning blaze.

As previously reported in The News, the fire ripped through the ground-floor property and six fire engines from across Portsmouth took two hours to put it out.

Resident Julie Young has lived in the block of flats for five years and described the incident at 1.30am last Thursday as scary.

The 54-year-old said: ‘My son came into my room and said he could hear loud banging. We went out of the front door and a neighbour said police were waking people up because there was a fire.

‘No alarms were going off even though we have them in the corridors. As we were going down the stairs, there was a horrific smell and smoke.’

Ms Young said she has since complained to the building owners Vivid Housing about the lack of alarms.

The company said in a statement ‘the alarms and detectors are in line with the building’s Stay Put policy’.

But Ms Young argued alarms needed to sound to keep residents safe.

‘We know the alarms work because we have had quite a few false alarms in the past few months,’ she said. ‘But it was a shock at the one time there was a real fire that nothing sounded.

‘I have complained and I know my neighbours have also complained about it too.

‘The whole thing was really scary and fire alarms are more effective than police knocking on the doors. What if you don’t hear them?’

Mark Batchelor, Vivid commercial director, said: ‘The fire was contained within the flat and thankfully nobody was injured.

‘The alarms and detectors are in line with the building’s Stay Put policy. They are regularly tested and performed as they should. The police and fire service were quickly on the scene, and Vivid staff attended to talk to and reassure residents.

‘Communal areas are fitted with silent smoke detectors that open vents to remove any smoke detected; in this instance there was no smoke in any public spaces.

‘Each apartment is fitted with its own smoke detector and heat detector that sound an alarm to alert to a danger within that flat. If a customer has heard an alarm previously, it will have been one within an apartment.’