Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back to Back - Basics


Tonight we will concentrate on one type of incident - fires in back to back houses.

On the 23rd September there was a back to back house fire in  West Bowling Bradford. Which at strangely enough were BOTH appliances from Odsal. Why strange ? Because the proposals currently under consultation seem to think just one will be sufficient in future years.

And to quote the plans

"The areas covered by Odsal fire station are classified as very high risk overall but the distribution of risk varies in each ward and ranges from very high to very low"  

What we have noticed in all of the documents in respect of the IRMP is that nowhere in them do they say anything about the types of properties in an area - it is all just varying degrees of risk.

Without a doubt back to back houses are very high risk indeed, they were 
BANNED in the early part of the 20th Century as they were considered a danger to life if they caught fire. East End Park and Harehills  in Inner East leeds have the highest concentrations of Back to Backs in Europe, which is a scary as soon the stations covering the area are going to be further away. And Gipton, Stanks, Moortown, Hunslet  and Garforth are all to close. And also they tend to be inhabited by poorer sections of the community which again significantly  increases the risk of fire.
You could have several smoke alarms in these types of houses but the bottom line is they only have one door - so if the fire is blocking your exit  you are basically  STUFFED. That is until of course a fire fighter comes along to rescue you. With increased  reponse times, less appliances and of course you would have to be blind (or very rich and naive maybe!) not to have noticed poverty is increasing at an alarming rate and you have many accidents waiting to happen.

It  is basic physics - heat rises as does smoke and 9/10  its the smoke that kills you way, way before the fire does.

And in a back to back house - the only way is up when the heat is on!


Bosshooch said...

It seems that in both Leeds and Bradford, the highest life risks are the inner city's however whereas Bradford face reductions in pumps, Leeds faces the loss of over half its stations ,and the new ones will be further away from these greatest risk areas! Minutes lost in travel will cost lives and cause greater destruction. Its a no brainer!

Anonymous said...

The thing that i don't understand is why do they publishresponse times information by ward? Almondbury for example is huge inparts semi rural and other parts 30s council estate. Burmantofts and Richmond Hill in Leeds is industrial,back to backs and high risk and high rise - combined with huge levels of poverty. yet they move the station for that further away and close others. Surely fire cover isnt a one size fits all ?

Anonymous said...

It is because they think councillors are too stupid to notice. They are very good at manipulating them (figures and councillors)

Anonymous said...

Please explain what on earth this is trying to prove. The only way is up in any house

Sarah Covell said...

Wrong - if you are in a back to back house you only have one door out. Most other houses have two doors therefore more means of escape. No back bedroom windows to get out from either. They were technically banned in about 1905 but continued to be built up to 1930. As the attics are usually used as bedrooms there is also a risk there, as fire can travek quickly through the roof spaces to adjoining houses.And in many there are no doors between the first and second floors. If the fire is downstairs - you will be waiting till a fire fighter comes to rescue you in breathing apparatus.