Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Hampshire crews give tower block fire advice

Shirley Towers in Church Street
Image caption The fire is believed to have started by a curtain draped over a lightbulb

Firefighters in Hampshire are visiting residents of high-rise blocks of flats to give safety advice in the wake of a fire which killed two colleagues.

James Shears, 35, died alongside Alan Bannon, 38, in the 15-storey Shirley Towers in Southampton on 6 April.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue said the incident left many residents confused about what to do in an emergency.

Crews will be carrying out home fire safety checks and giving advice to residents over the coming months.

Internal layout

Station manager Mark Raven said: "This is not only to carry out home checks but to advise tenants what to do in the event of a fire in their home or if they are trapped above a fire in their block."

He said it would also "allow firefighters time to completely familiarise themselves with the internal layout and construction" of high rise buildings in the city.

The occupants of the Shirley Towers flat where the fire started told the BBC it was caused by a curtain left draped over a lightbulb.

The firefighters were both found unconscious by paramedics in a flat on the ninth floor of the tower block and Mr Bannon was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Shears was taken to Southampton General Hospital and despite attempts to revive him he died two hours later.

The fire service said tower blocks are designed with walls, ceilings and doors that stop fire from spreading for some time.

This means, if there is a fire in another part of the building, residents are usually safer staying in their flats.

The safety campaign is a joint initiative with Southampton City Council and Hampshire Constabulary.

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