A MUM-to-be could have survived a suspected arson attack if she had known her front door was fire resistant, her heartbroken friends claim.

Khabi Abrey, 30, who was more than 30 weeks pregnant with her first child, died after a blaze started in a communal corridor on the ninth floor of the Grampian flats, in Balmoral Road, Westcliff.

Residents, police, fire service officers and housing association managers packed a public meeting on Wednesday night to discuss a string of safety concerns.

Neil Fenwick, head of community at Essex Fire Service, revealed all doors are designed to withstand smoke and flames for an hour - meaning Mrs Abrey could still be alive today if she had not tried to escape her flat.

Friend Salome Kerr, 33, said residents were completely unaware of the fire precautions.

Speaking at the meeting, she said: “If Khabi had known that she wouldn’t have opened her door. Something needs to be done.

“We have to be educated about what to do and how to do it.”

Addressing residents from South Essex Homes, Caroline Cooper-Smith, 56, who lives in the tower block, added: “You needed somebody to knock on the doors when the new fire doors were installed.

“I know that you’re not supposed to get in a lift and things like that, but some people might not realise.”

Mrs Abrey died from the effects of smoke inhalation at Southend Hospital two days after the fire on Saturday, May 7..

Neil Fenwick, head of community at Essex Fire Service, said: “It’s a very unusual occurrence.

“The buildings are designed to withstand 60 minutes before you will have a problem.

“The officer in charge said that all fire protections on that day performed how we would want them to.

“Fires usually occur inside the flats themselves so the walls and ceilings are all designed to withstand 60 minutes.”

Mr Fenwick added that strips of material around the doors of the flats are designed to expand in a fire, protecting residents from smoke.

He added: “Please be assured that the safety of the flats is up to scratch.”

Simon Potter, group manager at South Essex Homes, said the company was working on delivering fire guidance to all flats.

Addressing the residents, he said: “I completely agree with the comments you’ve made. We are working with our colleagues in the fire service on something that reminds people what to do in a fire.”

Mr Potter said some residents will be unable to return to their homes for several more weeks while the specialist doors are replaced.

Five families on the ninth floor were made homeless.

One resident said she did not want to return at all.

She said: “I have panic attacks, I can’t stand that flat, I don’t want to live there.”

Mr Potter said he would discuss her case in a private meeting.

Lillo Troisi, 47, of Balmoral Road, Westcliff, has been charged with murder, arson with intent to endanger life and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

He is due to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on November 9.