‘Fire hazard’ appliances found in Golden Lane Estate


Sixteen faulty appliances were found during inspections of central London housing, carried out as part of safety work in response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

They included washing machines, refrigerators and cookers found on the Golden Lane Estate, City leaders heard.

The City of London Corporation has been inspecting local housing stock for fire safety hazards, and installing sprinklers and new fire doors in some locations. It comes as councils around the UK spend millions on safety upgrades in the wake of the Grenfell disaster.

The inquiry into the tragedy continues, with testimony given by London Fire Brigade (LFB) firefighters in recent weeks.

The Corporation’s housing and almshouses management committee received an update on 24 September about the fire safety upgrades and inspections staff were carrying out.

In May, the Corporation agreed to retrofit sprinklers in five of its high-rise housing blocks. In addition, it has been upgrading entrance doors and frames in its social housing stock at a cost of £4million.

It comes after fire door testing to a random sample of flats in its social housing estates found an average fire resistance time of just 16 minutes.

The authority has committed to replacing all front entrances in its residential tower blocks with doors that provide resistance for 60 minutes preferably, or a minimum of 30 minutes.

The Corporation has already installed 2,500 heat, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in its tenanted properties and is urging leaseholders to take part too, the committee heard.

The fire safety works form part of the Corporation’s £55m five-year programme for its housing stock.

A fridge in a Grenfell flat has been widely blamed as the starting point for the fire, although the exact cause has yet to be determined.

City staff told councillors they had “condemned” the appliances in question, but did not have powers to take them away as they belonged to the tenants.

However, they were making it clear to residents they should replace the appliances, and in recognition of the cost, said they were working with tenants on trying to source good rates on new ones, which had already been done in some cases, councillors heard.

Cllr Marianne Fredericks asked if the staff were keeping an eye on which makes and models were faulty and reporting them to the LFB. Staff told the committee they had undertaken several hundred inspections on Golden Lane Estate, but that was less than 10% of the City’s housing stock they planned to inspect.

They added that they did regularly speak to the LFB, and said they would note any patterns they noticed in which appliances were found to be faulty.

Image by Steve Cadman (Creative Commons).