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Residents claim they are not safe in Felmores homes
6:10am Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
Residents who lost their homes in a huge blaze on Pitsea’s Felmores estate have hit back at the fire service’s claims the houses are safe.
Assistant chief fire officer for Essex, Paul Hill, presented a report on Monday into the cause of the fire which destroyed six homes at Bockingham Green, in July, and claimed the homes are safe, despite their timber frames.
Mr Hill even went so far as to say once a list of recommendations passed on to Basildon Council are carried out – such as installing sprinklers and concrete cladding – the homes will be among the safest in the county.
However residents were not impressed by the findings.
Paul and Deborah Wilson have still not moved back into their house at Bockingham Green, despite the council telling them repairs would only take three months. Now that timescale has been extended to six months.
Mr Wilson said: “I find it unbelievable the fire service is saying the fire didn’t spread quickly because of the timber, but saying it went around the fire breaks in the roof because they are not concrete.
“The council has a duty of care to its tenants and should have started the cladding work earlier.”
Billie McManus’s flat was also damaged by the fire.
The 37-year-old said: “What more can residents do apart from damp down the side of the houses every night so that they don’t catch fire?
“There is not really much more residents can do – we expect them to be made safe by the council.”
While the fire service admitted it was only down to the swift action of its crews that the roof didn’t collapse, officers claimed the reason the blaze spread there was due to a design defect, which according to Mr Hill was common in a lot of properties.
Basildon Council also said it had no regrets over the delay in its programme of installing cement cladding to the outside of the homes on the estate, where another house caught fire on Sunday, at Maylons.
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