Crews attend third bin fire in a week at Invicta House

Bin fire at Invicta House earlier this year Photo Li Jean-Luc Harris

Emergency crews have attended the third bin fire in a week at Margate’s Invicta House.

Crews were at the scene today (July 13) and residents reported smoke rising as high as the ninth floor. Four engines and the height vehicle attended.

A KFRS spokesperson said: “KFRS was called to a reports of a fire in a block of flats in Millmead Road, Margate at 4.21pm. Four fire engines and a height vehicle attended, and crews used a hose reel jet to extinguish the fire in the bin store on the ground floor.

“A high pressure fan was used to clear the building of smoke.  There were no reported injuries and the cause is not known.”

It is understood there was also a fire in one of the lifts on Thursday night (July 11).

Photo Gary Taylor

On July 10 four fire engines and the height vehicle attended the Millmead Road towerblock due to a bin fire. This followed a call out on July 7 when three engines, including the height vehicle, responded to the call at the flats when a cigarette butt in the chute started a fire.

The blaze on Sunday 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.

Photo Abbie Small

Following the third incident last year 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.

Ward councillor Gary Taylor has raised the issue with Thanet council’s head of housing Bob Porter. Mr Porter will be asking EKH for a full report and to advise about any mitigation or security measures needed at the block as a result.

Cllr Taylor added: “Some Tenants cannot hear fire alarm. I put a facebook post up the other night about that fire and that’s how many found out.

“The doors from the rubbish chutes appear not to be smokeproof so it goes into the stairway.. I await a response on this. I simply want the residents to be reassured whether the fires are down to carelessness or arson
“Mr Porter will also ask EKH to send out further information to tenants at Invicta House.”