Sprinklers at last for fire-hit estate

Echo: Sprinklers at last for fire-hit estate Sprinklers at last for fire-hit estate

SPRINKLER systems aimed at ensuring a Pitsea estate doesn’t suffer another devastating fire will be installed early next year.

Basildon Council will press ahead with plans to put sprinklers in council-owned homes and lobbies in Bockingham Green, which was the scene of a dreadful blaze which ripped through seven homes in July.

The authority also announced plans to install sprinklers in troublesome town centre tower blockBrookeHouse in the spring – but a senior councillor told the Echo that Bockingham Green will get seen to first.

Phil Turner, the deputy leader of the Tory administration, said: “Bockingham Green is the priority here. We put residents’ safety above anything else and we will do whatever it takes to find the money.”

The cost of the devices will be between £1,000 and £2,500 per home.

They will be installed in Brooke House at a cost of £150,000 because the authority’s doors in the block no longer comply with fire safety building regulations, leaving the administration open to prosecution.

Residents at Bockingham Green have long claimed the timber- frames of their homes were the reason the fire spread so rapidly.

A report from the fire service also recommended the devices be installed.

But residents have queried the wisdom of installing the sprinklers – especially as plans to replace the timber frames of the homes with concrete cladding are taking months to get off the ground.

Billie McManus, 37, of Bockingham Green, said: “It just seems a little bit idealistic really – we’ve been waiting months for the cladding works to start and it’s only recently they have.”

Brian Tams, 41, of Bockingham Green, said: “It won’t make me feel safer.

“This is my home, not an industrial warehouse. What if they go off when there isn’t a fire and it ruins all my stuff?”

It is hoped the sprinklers will be installed in other high-rise blocks after Brooke House, including the St Andrew’s Lane flats in Basildon and Ravensfield Court in Vange.

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