Bramley fire: Evacuated residents ask why they heard no alarm

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Residents evacuated from the burning block of flats in Bramley have questioned why none of them heard a fire alarm.

Many said they were alerted by friends or neighbours to the blaze which had broken out on the eighth floor of the Leeds City Council-run Poplar Court flats.

The aftermath of the Poplar Court flats blaze. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The aftermath of the Poplar Court flats blaze. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

A man, woman and child had to be taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation after the blaze which began at 10.30am this morning (Tuesday).
John Rowe, who lives on the first floor, got out of the building after he was told about the fire by a neighbour.

“There were no alarms going off. It’s scary because Grenfell was just eight months ago. We need alarms and we need a sprinkler system.”

Oksana Dovgan, 35, said the first she knew of the fire was when a friend a neighbouring block of flats called to alert her.

“She rang me and said ‘Where are you?’ I said I was at home so she said ‘you need to get out, I can see there’s a fire at your home’.

The aftermath of the Poplar Court flats blaze. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The aftermath of the Poplar Court flats blaze. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

“She had seen the fire engines. I heard no alarm and I didn’t smell anything.”

She added: “When I came outside and could smell smoke, I realised it was more serious than I was expecting.”

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Liam Murphy, 28, who lives on the tenth floor, was out at the time the fire broke out and returned home to find the scene unfolding.

He told the YEP: “I want to move. It’s made me nervous and upset. I’ve heard people say they had to be woken up by someone or they found out by the sirens outside.

“If that’s the case, where we live we could have died.”

A Leeds City Council spokesman said: “The fire at Poplar Court has now been extinguished and was contained to one flat. We would like to thank the emergency services for reacting and dealing with the incident so quickly.

“As with the national fire strategy for high rise blocks, in Leeds we have standalone alarms in each flat to allow for fires to be contained in the most efficient and safest way possible – as can be demonstrated by the outcome of today.

“We want to reassure people living in high rise blocks across the city that we have the relevant fire safety mechanisms and checks in place and will monitor and check buildings regularly.”