A number of commercial buildings on an industrial estate in Brent have been closed by the local fire service after officers uncovered some of the worst fire safety risks they had ever encountered.
Six prohibition notices were served on the six buildings, which were being used as living accommodation for around 150 people.
The London Fire Brigade was alerted to problems at the buildings after a fire broke out in one. When firefighters burst in to rescue people from the flames, they found seventeen rooms with more than 50 people residing in them. The building was inspected, as were five others managed by the same owner.
In each, there were virtually no measures taken to prevent fire or provide safe means of escape from fire, suggesting that the owner of the building had either no fire safety training or was negligent in his or her responsibilities towards people living in the buildings.
The London Fire Brigade, after banning people from living in the dangerous premises, commented on the state of the buildings. Steve Turek, the assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation, said:
“These buildings are potential death traps and its lucky nobody was killed as a result. Officers visiting these premises have described the breaches of fire safety as some of the worst they have ever seen.”