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Safety features must be implemented after firefighters' deaths
THE SISTER of a firefighter who died in Southampton tower block blaze has called on civic bosses to implement recommended fire safety features across the city.
Nearly three years after Alan Bannon and Jim Shears died in a fire in Shirley Towers, Alan's sister Lin Trott has said sprinklers should be installed in high-rise flats to protect both firefighters and residents saying “it absolutely must be done”.
Currently Southampton City Council has implemented two of four coroner's recommendations in apartment blocks across the city but there are two more yet to be done - installing sprinklers and metal clips on overhead wires.
But the cost of putting in the sprinklers is currently estimated to be £150,000 per system meaning the Labour-led council will have to take £2 million from the housing revenue account, paid for by the council's tenants.
“When I look at my mother and father who have lost a son, when I look at my niece who has lost an uncle, £2 million doesn't seem to be an awful lot of money.
“They're putting firefighters at risk by not implementing these changes. Part of the reason why Alan and Jim died is because previous recommendations on a previous case were not implemented.
“I certainly haven't had the impression that [other authorities] are not moving at the speed that Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are moving at,” she said.
Cabinet member for housing and leisure services Warwick Payne said the metal clips keeping wires overhead in case of a fire are to be installed soon.
Warwick Payne said: “What price can you put on a firefighter's life? In financial terms the figure over the clips on the wiring is only tens of thousands of pounds.
“Of all the other things my constituents have spoken to me about, not one has emailed me, or phoned me or written to me about this.
“I have been deafened by a wall of silence from the tenants over this issue, they have not exactly been knocking my door down.
“I am in favour of the sprinklers going into the tower blocks I just want to get the backing of the tenants first.”
- Alan Bannon's family are also doing a charity abseil to raise money for the Firefighters' Charity - click here for more >>