Potential fire safety concerns revealed at Ambassador House in Bletchley

    An MKFM investigation into fire safety at the Ambassador House building in Bletchley has revealed some potential issues within the building.

    Whilst there is no allegation that the building is in contravention of any Fire Safety Policy, a series of potential issues have been highlighted as part of our investigation into the building today.

    These concerns have been responded to by Affinity Lettings, the management company for the building, and their response is printed in full at the end of this article.

    Representatives from MKFM attended the building at around 12pm today (Monday 19th June).

    On arrival to the building, we found that the bins area was completely open in the basement car park, with bins left open and overspilling with rubbish. Further inspection showed that the roofing was not present above two of the bins, with a large amount of insulation from above visible instead.

    One resident in the Car Park at the time told us that there had been a fire in the bins a few months ago, with residents not hearing any fire alarm or alert.

    Within the building, there were no fire information signs present at the main entrances/exits with details of any fire assembly point. The only visible signage was to advise residents that smoking was not permitted.

    Finally, the water inlet on the top floor of the building was missing its covering which lead to it being exposed to residents. A ‘Fire Exit’ sign on the third-floor external staircase had also completely broken away.

    Responding to our findings, Cllr Nigel Long from Milton Keynes Council said "Ambassador House is, of course, not owned by the Council, but the Council does place homeless families in the block. I have already asked Council officers to check with partners that their properties meet fire Fire Assessment Standards and that such properties are safe from fire.''

    After presenting our findings to Affinity Lettings, they responded to each individually whilst a representative also informed us that "whilst I appreciate this topic is ‘popular news’ at the present time, your article is misleading and incorrect in many areas."

    Issue Response from Affinity Lettings
    ‘Break Glass’ fire alarm panels all covered to prevent usage This system was taken out in 2012.  There is no communal fire detection, the apartments are compartmentalised which means this limits the fires from spreading between apartments.  No common area system is therefore required as per the fire officers report in 2012.  Each apartment has its own fire safety detection.  This is perfectly above board and correct.
    Fire Exit sign broken on exterior escape staircase This was picked up today at an inspection, it was in place at 9am on Friday’s inspection. This rear staircase is often subject to youth's hanging around. We have a spare one in the office that it will be replaced with by the morning. Hardly a big hazard.
    Fire Brigade Water Inlet panel on top floor missing covering It does not stop the water inlet from working - it has been vandalised and the replacement glass ordered. It does not compromise the fire safety of the block.
    Ceiling above the open and over spilling communal bins in the basement has fallen away, exposing the insulation above The bin collection day is Monday and Tuesday. The bins looked very tidy at 11am today. We don’t have someone on site ready to pick-up after tenants on the hour. Residents are expected to put rubbish in the bins. This area is swept and tidied twice a week.

    The ceiling was damaged in a mattress fire. The boarding couldn’t be immediately replaced as damaged electrical wiring meant lots of work had to be done to trace where the wires that were now damaged and faulty where leading from/to from under the boarding. The new boarding has been ordered and due for delivery on Wednesday of this week. It is specialist board. In the meantime though, the remaining boards in this area have been checked for effectiveness and all painted in a fire retardant paint.
    No fire safety instructions or details of fire assembly points at the major entrance/exits to the building The fire policy is on the reverse of every flat door. There is no assembly point as the building does not have a policy to evacuate.


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