A recent fire in a block of flats in Blairgowrie has highlighted the danger of residents using their common closes as a storage area for large household items.
Seven people had to be rescued after the blaze broke out in the close at the block in Coralbank Crescent earlier this month.
Firefighters from Blairgowrie and Alyth spent more than an hour tackling the flames. Their efforts to evacuate residents were hampered by items being stored in the communal area of the block, including a washing machine, rubbish bags and several bikes. The Fire and Rescue Service has blamed a discarded cigarette for starting the fire in the rubbish bags.
Following the fire Perth & Kinross Council is appealing to all Council tenants and private residents of blocks of flats to ensure that communal areas are kept clear. This is to ensure that residents of blocks can be easily evacuated in the event of a fire or emergency.
The Council’s Area Housing Teams and Safer Communities Wardens have been issued with the special ‘fire hazard tape’ which they use to mark any items that pose a fire risk by blocking an escape route from a block of flats, or items that would make access difficult for the emergency services. The brightly-coloured tape is intended to highlight these dangers to people, and the initiative has already seen some success.
The Council’s Housing and Health Convener, Councillor Dave Doogan, said: “The tape is designed to fit around items left in closes and advises the residents who abandoned them to dispose of them properly. Importantly the tape also reminds people of the very real fire dangers caused by these items.
“Our Safer Communities Wardens have already found that by simply alerting residents to the fire risks of these obstructions this prompts the removal of the offending items. When Council tenants fail to remove items that have been identified as a fire risk, further action will be taken consistent with the seriousness of this issue.
“The overall message to all residents is do not leave household items in communal blocks or residential areas. If you have an unwanted sofa or washing machine you can arrange special uplifts for bulky items by calling the Council on 01738 476476. Alternatively, you can dispose of them at your local recycling centre.”