Promises after Camberwell death blaze—but we’re still waiting

Dear Ed, TOWER Hamlets Homes responded to the death blaze in the Camberwell tower block on July 4 by carrying out an urgent fire audit of similar blocks in the East End and would take “any action to safeguard families.” I live in Lister House in Whitechapel, which had a serious fire just over a year ago. If the promise is to mean anything, it is going to have to do a lot better than the response last year

Dear Ed,

TOWER Hamlets Homes, according to the East London Advertiser, was responding to the death blaze in the Camberwell tower block on July 4 by carrying out an urgent fire audit of similar blocks in the East End and would take “any action to safeguard families” ( Advertiser Website, July 8).

I live in Lister House in Whitechapel, which had a serious fire just over a year ago in the first floor corridor, reported in the Advertiser. There was a lot of damage, but fortunately no injuries.

If the promise of “any action to safeguard families” by Tower Hamlets Homes, who manage Lister House, is to mean anything, it is going to have to do a lot better than the response to last year’s fire.

Yes, the damage was repaired, and the recycling bins moved out of the corridors.


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But we wanted action to minimise the possibility of other fires and maximise our safety.

We asked for smoke detectors in communal areas. We asked that fire doors between corridors and staircase be repaired so they closed properly. We asked for a full fire risk assessment of Lister House.

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One year on, we know a repair order was issued for the fire doors last July, but the work has still not been done 13 months later!

We have heard nothing more about the smoke detectors either, or the fire risk assessment.

Our experience following the 2008 fire is that there’s no real improvement.

We should not have to wait for the death blaze in Camberwell for such an overdue change for basic health and safety.

John Bloxam

Lister House, Lomas Street, Whitechapel

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