Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton tower blocks to be fitted with sprinklers

Shirley Towers
Image caption Shirley Towers, where two firefighters died in 2010, is among the first to have sprinklers fitted

A number of high-rise council tower blocks in Southampton are to be "retro-fitted" with sprinklers.

Southampton City Council has announced sprinkler fitting will be rolled-out at the city's towers from next week.

The works will start at Albion Towers, Sturminster House and Shirley Towers, where two firefighters died in 2010.

It follows calls for action to be taken in the wake of the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in west London last week.

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The tallest tower blocks, Canberra Towers, Redbridge Towers and Millbrook Towers have been identified as the next priority out of the city's 19 tower blocks.

It has not yet been revealed if the remaining tower blocks will have the sprinklers installed.

Dave Curry, chief officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said sprinklers were like "having a firefighter in every room in your home".

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Image caption Two firefighters were killed at Shirley Towers in 2010

Mr Curry, who called for sprinklers to be fitted in all tower blocks after the Shirley Towers fire, said: "I know that if sprinklers were fitted in high-rise buildings we won't see the tragic loss of life that we've seen in this county and in London."

The blaze at the 15-storey Shirley Towers started in a ninth-floor flat and took the lives of Jim Shears, 35, of Poole, and Alan Bannon, 38, of Southampton.

An inquest revealed the blaze started after a resident left a curtain resting on a lamp.

The service said fire crews were also visiting every high-rise premise in the county to reassure residents and make sure they understood the evacuation process for their building.

Residents living in eight blocks which have had or are due to have cladding fitted in Thornhill, Weston, Shirley Towers, Sturminster House and Albion Towers have also called for a demonstration to show the cladding is non-combustible to allay fears.

The council said the product used, produced by Rockwool, was non-combustible, safe and fully certified.

Image caption Redbridge Towers, where a fire started in a flat on the 12th floor of the 19-storey building in April, is also among those to have sprinklers fitted

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