Hornsey residents' fears over alarms and vents after block fire

Judd Apartments, Hornsey

Judd Apartments, Hornsey - Credit: Alison Bancroft

Hornsey residents have criticised their landlord after smoke vents did not open and alarms did not sound when a fire broke out in their apartment block.

The fire at Judd Apartments on April 15 started in the bin store, causing the first three floors of the building to fill with “thick smoke”, according to residents Alison Bancroft and Jo Greenyer.

Three fire engines attended at 9.15pm and the London Fire Brigade confirmed that there was smoke in the building. The fire was put out within 12 minutes from the time they were called.

Clarion Housing, which manages the building, said the smoke vents did not open because there was “not enough smoke generated to activate them”.  

But Ms Bancroft claimed she had already made a complaint to Clarion about problems with the vents.

Ms Greenyer said that there were “no alarms and no calls to evacuate”, even after the fire brigade arrived. 

Clarion said that there are no alarms in communal areas because Judd Apartments has a "stay put" policy.

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A spokesperson said: “The building is designed to ensure residents are safe to stay in their own property in the event of a fire, unless their flat is affected by it. Because of this, there are no alarms in communal areas.”

Residents claimed that the lock to the bin store, where the fire broke out, has been broken since mid-February, despite repeated complaints.  

Clarion Housing disputed this, saying that it had found the lock to the bin store in working order on March 31.  

Clarion Housing said the safety of residents was its “number one priority” and that the fire was contained, with nobody harmed.  

“We are working closely with the London Fire Brigade, whose initial assessment is that the cause of the fire was accidental,” a spokesperson said.   

“Residents can be reassured that Judd Apartments has the appropriate fire detection system in place.  

“The system, including the AOVs, is regularly tested - most recently in March 2021. During the recent small fire, the vents did not open because there was not enough smoke generated to activate them.  

“The issues regarding maintenance at this building have been a priority for our housing team and we regularly visit the block.  

“We did so on March 31 when we found the bin store lock to be in working order.”