Hatfield tower block's 24/7 fire wardens 'unavailable' when alarm sounds

PUBLISHED: 06:59 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:44 05 November 2019

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Councils most senior councillors will be asked on Tuesday to approve plans to demolish and redevelop Queensway House. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Councils most senior councillors will be asked on Tuesday to approve plans to demolish and redevelop Queensway House. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin

Archant

A Hatfield tower block's 24/7 fire wardens were unavailable, according to residents, when a fire alarm sounded on the bottom floor of the building.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, which owns the Queensway block, started fire warden patrols in June after the doors were deemed not to meet fire safety standards.

READ MORE: Queensway residents given option to move out after doors fail fire standards

But residents say when firefighters attended the block's ground floor cafe - to look into what turned out to be a false alarm from cooking - at around 7.30am on Friday they could not find the wardens.

A WHBC spokeswoman said, after it was notified by residents, the council met with the senior manager of fire wardens provider Abbey Personnel.

"Abbey Personnel advised us that a member of their staff was present," she said.

"However, we are concerned about these reports from residents and are investigating what happened.

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"They are aware of our concerns and have put additional processes in place".

The Welwyn Hatfield Times also asked if this could have happened before, but the borough council thought it was unlikely.

"We are using a reputable company and experienced wardens," the spokeswoman said.

READ MORE: Hatfield tower block to be demolished?

"The company has been contracted to provide a service and, in addition to spot checks on site, anecdotal comments from residents have provided reassurance that the service was provided."

Two 24/7 fire wardens - which are costing the borough council £5,184 a week - were put in place after the new flat front doors failed to meet full fire resistance standards due to changing tests.

As in 2016, the doors had a British Standards certification and were deemed safe.

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council's most senior councillors are set to approve plans to demolish and redevelop Queensway House today.

Most - 55 per cent of residents and leaseholders - were in favour of demolishing and redeveloping the tower block.

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