Bellway blames barbecue for flat blaze

11 June 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Housebuilder Bellway has blamed the use of a barbecue on a balcony for a blaze which destroyed 20 flats in a newly completed Barking developed and damaged several more.

Fire broke out at the block at Samuel Garside House on De Pass Gardens on Sunday. It took 100 firefighters more than two and a half hours to bring the blaze, which stretched from the ground floor to the sixth floor under control.

One man and one woman were treated on scene suffering from smoke inhalation but no other injuries were reported.

In a statement, Bellway said: “The fire yesterday at Samuel Garside House in Barking, a low rise block of apartments, is a very serious issue and we are working with all parties to establish how this happened.

“We understand that the blaze was contained to the external envelope of the eastern elevation of the building, with initial reports suggesting that it was caused by a barbecue on a resident’s balcony.  We are relieved that the fire protection measures within the building, which received all regulatory approvals, ensured that occupants were safely evacuated.”

The firm said it was working with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham in securing alternative temporary accommodation for affected residents and would offer support to help remediate the damaged apartments.

After the fire, some residents took to the Facebook page of the Barking Riverside Residents’ Association’s Facebook page and claimed they had raised fire safety concerns about wood cladding on the building following a report by the BBC’s Watchdog programme.

A spokesperson for the firm said: “Bellway continues to take the issue of fire safety extremely seriously and will work with all involved to ensure that affected residents are properly supported during this difficult time.”


May be but to ignite 20 flats????

Mervyn Jenkins, 11 June 2019

Prequalify your customers if you want to design and build timber balconies.

Even then you lose control when these flats are sold on.

Better not to specify timber balconies.

Waggler, 11 June 2019

Statutory Instrument 2010 #2214, Building Regulations 2010, Schedule 1, page 30, clause B4 (external spread of fire) ought to apply in this case. Not convinced Bellway have discharged their design responsibilities here.

Steve Moores, 11 June 2019

Its time that the architect's profession took some responsibility for the selection of cladding. Aesthetics over fire safety should not be the primary rationale.

Keith Briggs, 12 June 2019

Keith Briggs, Architects take responsibility?

They prefer to avoid it, and if challenged, will either just point to some project somewhere else where someone has done it and it hasn't been a problem, or come out with some nonsense like 'It's already been signed off by the client', 'Building Control didn't comment', or the classic 'It's too late'.

FWIW I'm an Architect myself and have seen many bad decisions go unchanged through the art of skillful dodging.

John, 22 June 2019

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