Fury as owner removes all fire extinguishers from sheltered home

Fairmead Court, Hayling Island,     Picture:  Nick Meachin
Fairmead Court, Hayling Island, Picture: Nick Meachin
Rod Elliott, Hayling Island Lions Club volunteer Santa, outside Tesco Express, Station Road, Hayling Island. He was thrown off the site on Saturday after coming to give children presents and fundraise near the store's entrance. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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THE owner of a sheltered housing complex has sparked fury by removing all the fire extinguishers.

The Guinness Trust says it has made the move as the home is not staffed and the use of an extinguisher ‘needs training’.

But the move has upset the retired and elderly people living at Fairmead Court, Hayling Island, and has been dubbed as unacceptable given the recent events at London’s Grenfell Tower.

According to Fairmead Court resident Nick Meachin, 69, Guinness is brushing 
residents’ safety under the carpet.

He said: ‘Fairmead Court is made up of 49 flats and about 65 residents.

‘None of us were told the extinguishers would be removed.

‘They were just taken away last month.

‘I asked our Guinness representative what we’re supposed to do in the 
event of a fire – she said residents should go on their balconies.

‘I’m former Royal Navy so I know how to use an 
extinguisher, but for those who don’t there are instructions.

‘We’ve all been left feeling extremely vulnerable, 
especially after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and the thought of standing on a balcony watching a fire develop around me fills me with horror.’

The decision comes months after The Guinness 
Partnership’s decision to remove all safety alarm systems from its properties, which allowed residents to call for help.

Mr Meachin, who worked for BAE Systems, moved to Fairmead Court with his wife in 2015.

The property was advertised by Hampshire Homechoice as sheltered housing, and the couple wanted to live somewhere they would feel safe.

Nick added: ‘We found out soon after we moved in it’s not really sheltered housing.

‘We were let down from the start and now, we’re just being disregarded as a bunch of old people.

‘Residents here don’t feel safe. What will be taken away next?’

A spokeswoman for The Guinness Partnership said: ‘In the event of a fire customers are asked to follow the specific advice given for their building. We would not wish customers to risk their safety trying to use fire extinguishers which they are not trained to use.

‘In the event of a fire the fire brigade should be called immediately.’

Community Safety Group Manager for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Glenn Bowyer said: ‘We would always advise that on discovering a fire in your home that you get out, stay out and call 999.

‘Tackling the fire yourself can delay the time it takes to call the fire service and can put you and your property at further risk.

‘The building’s fire safety policy is the responsibility of the owner. We would urge people to make sure they know their evacuation plan, ensure exits are kept clear and keys are accessible.’