Guernsey Press

Cour du Parc is safe, Fire & Rescue reassures residents

GUERNSEY Fire & Rescue has reassured residents that Cour du Parc is safe.

Fire safety manager Gary Van Der Linden at Cour Du Parc. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31503197)

It was revealed earlier this week that the fire safety rating on the towerblock’s cladding had been downgraded and the Guernsey Housing Association had taken the costly decision to replace it.

The tower in St Peter Port is home to 50 flats and can house up to 144 residents.

Guernsey Fire Service fire safety manager Gary Van Der Linden said the Fire & Rescue Service was more than happy with the steps the GHA was taking.

‘The GHA has been very responsible and precautionary, by changing the cladding – they are doing belt and braces,’ he said.

‘We have no concerns about the residents remaining in the building while the external cladding is changed.’

The work is set to take place in the spring.

‘We are talking constantly to the GHA about all their projects,’ he said,

‘And since June we have been in regular dialogue about the new information on the cladding. When it was first put in it was deemed very safe.’

The cladding’s fire rating was changed from light to medium in the light of new testing procedures introduced after the Grenfell disaster.

‘The original cladding was Kingspan 15,’ said Mr Van Der Linden.

‘When it was fitted it was deemed not combustible, but because of Grenfell the testing has developed considerably.

'They started testing products in combination, not just singularly, looking at interactions between cladding, weatherboards and the cavity breaks.

‘In combination they were not as safe as they were alone.’

Mr Van Den Linden explained that part of the reason for the service's confidence in the fire safety of the building was its differences to Grenfell.

‘There are lots of extra fire safety measures in place here,’ he said.

‘There are water sprinklers in every flat, a fire alarm system that is checked on a weekly basis. This is connected to automatic door closers to protect the buildings exit routes.

‘Automatic smoke extractors keeps the communal spaces smoke-free for evacuation and there is emergency lighting on every floor.

‘There is also a dedicated fire lift in a protective shaft with two separate power supplies.’

The tower also has a dry riser within the protective stairwell – a system of pipes that enables the fire service to plug in and augment the water supply so they do not have to run hose through the building.

‘That equipment is tested on a six-monthly basis.

‘The fire risers at Grenfell weren’t really appropriate for the height of the building and many were vandalised. As we check so regularly we know that’s not the case here.’

Guernsey’s only towerblock is 10 storeys high and 24 metres tall – about a third the height of Grenfell.

Mr Van Der Linden said it was accessible for the fire service’s 33-metre ladders.

‘We have checked that we can get all around the building with the fire engines and use the turntables so that even the highest parts are accessible.’