Fire crews have been called to a bin fire at Invicta House in Margate today (July 7).
Three engines, including the height vehicle, responded to the call at the Millmead Road towerblock at 11am. One resident reports that there was smoke in the hallway as high as the 9th floor and several days ago the inspection light in the lift shaft was on. The resident added that the amount of rubbish accumulating at the block is a fire hazard.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze using a hose reel jet. They also used a large ventilation fan to clear the smoke from all floors and lift motor room. It’s believed the fire was caused by discarded cigarette butts placed into the bin chute that ended up in the waste bin. The cause is accidental.
The blaze has prompted firefighters to urge residents living in tower blocks to be careful with what they dispose of into the bin chute / communal waste. Smokers are being reminded to fully extinguish cigarettes before they are thrown away in any situation. A discarded cigarette that’s still alight can lead to devastating consequences if thrown out and allowed to smolder in furnishings or dry grassland.
Last year firefighters were called to the block three times in one week following a spate of deliberate fires, mainly in the rubbish chutes but one more worryingly in the stairwell.
Following the third incident East Kent Housing pledged to increase night security at the flats. EKH is responsible for local authority housing across the area.
Fire safety works, including an alarm system upgrade, were scheduled to be carried out at Invicta House in Margate this month.
In May Thanet council published a tender for a contractor to undertake the improvement of fire safety measures within the block .Tenders for work on Thanet’s other high rise blocks will be issued throughout the year.
This followed detailed fire safety reports where a number of enhanced fire safety works were identified. Revised risk assessments were carried out following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017and additional fire safety works were identified.