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November 23, 2023

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“They have gambled with our families’ lives”, say residents evacuated from Bristol tower block

Barton House, a residential tower block had to be evacuated unannounced last week after a survey revealed the building had severe fire risks. 

It is reported that 400 people had to evacuate the tower block including 100 children, after fire and electrical inspection reports found “significant failings” in the building.

In a statement, Bristol City Council said: ‘The survey undertaken to three flats out of the 98 in the block indicate that in the event of a fire, explosion or large impact, there is a risk to the structure of the block.’

“It wasn’t built to the design specs”

The Council has also said that the original building design plans were not followed during the building’s 1958 construction with Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Housing Services and Energy, adding: “If the building was built to design we wouldn’t have this problem. The issue is within the construction of the building and the job that was done at the time, it wasn’t built to the design specs – that’s the problem we’re dealing with.”


Further reading: Who pays for fire safety remedies in residential blocks? Examining the cases so far…


Barton House is reported to be the city’s oldest residential tower, being built differently from other tower blocks. The council therefore added that they do not expect this to be a widespread issue.

“They have rolled the dice”

However, residents have been protesting on how the situation has been handled. One resident, Shaban Ali said: “They have risked our lives, they have gambled with our families’ lives. They have rolled the dice like a Las Vegas casino. They have left us and our children in danger. Shame on them. We no longer trust the council. We need an independent investigation.”

Another resident, who had to leave the tower block with her disabled mother and young child said: “We just need to go back home. We want answers. They’ve [the council] just left us in limbo pretty much”.

Meanwhile, a Cable crowdfund has been set up to support the Barton House residents with £10,000 being raised in 48 hours.

The council has described the evacuation as ‘precautionary’, and awaits the results of further in depth surveys on the building’s structure.


Further reading: How does the fire industry learn from tragedies and near misses?

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