A rescue platform ladder that can reach 200ft for skyscraper emergencies is needed following the New Providence Wharf blaze.
That was the message Tower Hamlets’ Cllr Rabina Khan made at a council meeting on July 21 because the London Fire Brigade (LFB) has no turntable ladders based in the East End — one has to be brought in from outside if a fire breaks out.
This has raised concerns about the Isle of Dogs, which is densely populated per square mile and has some of Britain’s tallest residential skyscrapers.
– Credit: Mike Brooke
“We need to give the LFB every possible facility to tackle any fire in a tower block,” Cllr Khan told the East London Advertiser.
“Fires can start at any time, as the recent New Providence Wharf incident shows. Our high-rise community requires a turntable ladder that can reach them.”
– Credit: Nick Larkin
But it would cost £1million, and the council is being asked to raise the money partly from levies on new developments.
The fire brigade is due to bring three new rescue platforms that can reach 200ft into service later this year.
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The nearest is being stationed at Dagenham, eight miles away along the A13. The other two are going to Peckham and Wimbledon.
It takes 20 minutes for the Dagenham crews to reach the Isle of Dogs — although it would not be the first fire crew to arrive at the scene, it is pointed out.
Cllr Khan said: “People need to be able to go to bed at night knowing they won’t be waiting at least 20 minutes for that important fire safety equipment to arrive if fire breaks out.”
Councillors met the fire brigade’s Tower Hamlets commander last month to discuss lessons learnt from the New Providence Wharf incident on May 7.
Tower Hamlets does not have a tall turntable rescue platform, they learned.
The fire brigade has 15 tall ladders currently in service, but only reaching 90ft (32m).
A fire brigade spokesman told the Advertiser: “The first response to an emergency is no more than eight minutes. The aerial rescue platforms are not the first response.
“We are replacing our fleet of rescue platforms after the Grenfell Tower disaster of 2017. Three new 64m ladders come into service in the autumn — the tallest ladders in Europe.”
The brigade bought one of the ladders for £1million. The other two were paid for by London Freemasons, who raised £2m.
– Credit: Nick Larkin
– Credit: Google