Bristol City Council has committed to spend more than £22.3m improving fire safety and to install sprinklers in all council tower blocks in Bristol after campaigning from tower block residents and members of ACORN.
Residents reported smoke alarms in Twinnell House hadn't been working properly & they'd been woken by neighbours and police knocking doors. The
council announced the fire was started by an electric bike & fire doors and alarms 'worked as expected.'
Soon after, ACORN started doorknocking and talking to residents and quickly found that they were feeling angry & frightened. We spoke with Ahmed who had been to several meetings with the council but felt it seemed like a 'tick-box exercise,' and that the council was evading responsibility.
Twinnell House resident and ACORN member Selma Muuse lives in a flat with her autistic son on the top floor of the tower. The fire broke out in the middle of the night, in a neighbouring flat, and she had to run from the top floor carrying her son, to escape.
“I am traumatised by what happened. My son is traumatised. He has autism and since the fire and all the moving around, his wellbeing and his emotional state have not been good”. Selma describes council treatment of her and her son since as adding “trauma after trauma”.
Amran Arab, mother, ACORN member and Corbett House resident added, “As a mother of an autistic daughter, living in a tower block, I always have extra anxiety around fire safety. Disabled people, many physically and elderly individuals are put higher up which compromises their safety. It is about time Bristol City Council looks after their most vulnerable tenants! This ACORN campaign has given me the platform I need to voice all my concerns and I would encourage every Bristolian to get behind it as we all have families, friends, colleagues, students, patients, clients and many more living in such accommodation. Let’s keep the pressure on!”
since the fire and the death of Abdul Jabar.
As a result of this campaign, the council has committed to:
- add 24/7 fire wardens into 27 additional blocks (making it 38 in total)
- publish fire safety check for all blocks and make them public
- install sprinklers in all council high-rise blocks in Bristol
published as we demanded, and the council has formally approved £22.3 million of funding for these fire safety measures, as well as committing to
approve further funding for the sprinklers in every council tower block in Bristol.
“It shouldn't have taken this long or needed to turn into a battle for the council as well as the mayor to see common sense and stick to promises made in 2019 post Grenfell but we're ecstatic our collective voice, along with the backing and support of ACORN, has been heard and finally action is being taken to make buildings safe. Families and their loved ones can now sleep easy." Shaban Ali, ACORN member and Barton House resident.
This win is down to the resilience and hard campaigning of Bristol's tower block residents and ACORN members. There comes a time when acceptance is no longer an option; that's when we come together & fight. We won't stop until sprinklers are fitted in every Bristol block!