FEARS have been raised about the safety of Southampton’s tower blocks after major blaze claimed the lives of at least 12 people in a London high rise.

More than 200 firefighters tackled Wednesday morning’s fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington.

Residents of the Grenfell Action Group had claimed the block constituted a fire risk both before and after its recent refurbishment.

Grenfell Tower was built in 1974 and contains 120 flats thought to be home to between 400 and 600 people.

The building was refurbished recently at a cost of £8.6 million.

Rydon, the firm that carried it out, said its work “met all required building control, fire regulation, and health and safety standards”.

London Fire Brigade said the cause of the fire is still being investigated, but several residents reported one man had said it started in his faulty fridge.

The fire is a grim reminder of the events at Southampton’s Shirley Towers in April 2010 when a two firefighters died in a blaze started by a curtain being left on top of a lamp.

In April of this year hundreds of residents were evacuated from Redbridge Towers after a fire started in the twelfth floor.

Councillor Andrew Pope, Southampton Independents councillor for Redbridge said: “This news is concerning. Two months on from the Redbridge towers fire, the city council still haven’t taken action to make the building safe.

“The council has also failed to address the problem of installing sprinklers in Shirley Towers more than seven years after the fire which killed two firefighters.

“I have written to the Chief Fire Officer Dave Curry to address my concerns and I have spoken to Warwick Payne (Southampton City Council’s housing portfolio holder) but my concerns were dismissed straight away.”

Councillor Jeremy Moulton, leader of the Tory opposition on the City Council told the Echo: “It shouldn’t be a question of money, even towers with the smallest risk should have sprinklers installed while we need to make sure that buildings are tripled checked for any fire risks.”

But the council claim that safety of residents is a number one priority and they should have nothing to fear.

Councillor Simon Letts, the leader of Southampton City Council said: “I can say that residents are not at risk from an imminent inferno.

“All tower blocks are undergoing a refurbishment programme.”

In a statement issued yesterday Southampton City Council said that an external wall insulation (EWI) system has been installed in at tower blocks in Thornhill and Weston.

Work is currently under way to install EWI systems at Shirley Towers, Sturminster House and Albion Towers.

The statement said: “The EWI system used in Southampton is based on Rockwool, a mineral product that is naturally fire resistant. This is considered to be a safe, standard, robust system that is fully certified.

“The council has received assurance from the manufacturer and installer of the EWI system that it is safe and fire resistant. Full fire risk assessments were carried out prior to installation and there was full liaison with the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“The council said that it employs a specialist fire safety consultant to provide independent, expert advice and assurance on fire risks in its tower blocks and other housing properties.

“Officers are working with the manufacturer and installers of the EWI system, the independent fire safety consultant and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to review the EWI specification and fire safety arrangements in the light of the tragic events in London, but there is nothing at all to suggest at this stage that the system is unsafe in any way.

“In Shirley Towers, Sturminster House and Albion Towers, the Rockwool insulation is in place and a protective render is now being applied to complete the work.”

The council said that work to install a sprinkler system at Albion Towers is scheduled to start from June 26.

Work to install sprinklers at Shirley Towers and Sturminster House is programmed to start when the external wall insulation work is complete.

Councillor Warwick Payne, said: “Our thoughts are with those directly affected and their families at this time.

“As a landlord, we are constantly reviewing the safety of our residents as this is our top priority. It is important that residents feel safe in their homes following the events at Grenfell Tower.

“We will await the findings of the fire investigators in London as they seek the cause of the fire at Grenfell Towers. We will take into account any lessons that emerge from this process as they relate to our own housing stock.”

Area Manager Rob Cole from Hampshire Fire and Rescue service added: “It is important that anyone living in a high-rise building knows what to do in the event of a fire and makes sure they are familiar with their building’s emergency plan.

“If you are not aware of the emergency plan for your building, contact your building owner, landlord or warden.

“All buildings are designed with fire safety in mind and the plan may differ depending on factors related to the individual property.”