Barking Riverside fire - Sunday 9 June 2019
Statement from Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council:
“On day four since the fire we have already raised over £13,000 for the families affected. This money will help them get back on their feet and sums up the support shown by our wonderful community.
“Tomorrow our rest centre will move base to Rivergate Community Centre, which has better facilities for children and is nearer those who have been affected. Over the next seven days our staff will be there to continue helping residents with anything they need from advice about money to clothing and everyday essentials. Staff from RMG, who manage the block, and Southern Housing Association, who have tenants on the estate, will also be on site to answer specific questions residents will undoubtedly have about their next steps. And emotional support will also still be provided by our amazing British Red Cross and our NHS colleagues who have stood alongside us every step of the way. We have written to all the residents affected to outline plans for the next week, and will be writing to them again with another update at the end of next week. At the moment we are dealing with this in bitesize chunks to make sure people have what they need each day.
“We have also written to people living in homes near the fire to reassure them that we are asking for answers and quick action from Bellway Homes, who built the block, and RMG and Homeground who manage it. They need to take immediate steps to make sure everyone living near the fire feels confident that their home is safe. We are meeting with these organisations daily and have strongly advised them to keep residents on the estate regularly informed about what is happening. I’m pleased that Barking Riverside Ltd, who own the land occupied by the housing, are coordinating this and writing to residents today.”
More information and updates will be added to this page.
We have set up a donations page for anyone who would like to make a donation to the affected families.
Support from the local community has been amazing and volunteers are sorting through all of the donated items. We've been inundated with donated clothes, toiletries and other items and we're just sorting through everything so it gets to the people who need it. At this point if you want to help, a cash donation is the best way.
Frequently asked questions
What's happening now?
Tomorrow (Friday 14 June), the rest centre will move to Rivergate Community Centre, which has better facilities for children and is nearer the estate. Over the next week our staff will continue to provide residents with advice and support, while staff from other organisations will be there to answer specific questions about residents’ next steps. British Red Cross and NHS colleagues will also continue the fantastic work they’ve been doing to support residents emotionally. We’ve written to everyone affected today to tell them what’s happening over the next week and they’ll get another update next week as things develop.
Barking Riverside Ltd, who are the master developer of the estate, are coordinating a letter for residents and people living near the fire today. This letter will set out what Bellway Homes (who built the block) and RMG and Homeground (who manage it) are doing to make sure people are confident their homes are safe.
How many homes were affected?
79 flats in total were affected, as the electricity supply had to be switched off in some nearby homes. 10 flats were completely destroyed and 43 had varying levels of damage caused by the fire.
Are people returning home?
Yes, we have been told by London Fire Brigade and the building owners that 32 flats are now safe for people to return to. 12 households have now returned home. Anyone who doesn't want to return home yet can stay in the temporary accommodation we have booked until next Monday.
Who owns the block?
This is not a council block, it is owned by Adriatic Land who are the landlord. Residential Management Group (RMG) act on behalf of Adriatic Land as the managing agent for the block. Some flats have private tenants and some have Southern Housing Association tenants. There were no council tenants in the building.
Who built the block?
The block was built six years ago by Bellway Homes.
Who signed off building control on the block?
Bellway Homes did not use the council's building control service and instead appointed an Approved Inspector (NHBC) to inspect the block to confirm it met with building regulations.
Is the rest of the block safe?
Structural engineers have been on site and have confirmed that despite the damage to individual flats, the overall structure of the block is safe.
Do you know how the fire started?
Not yet, London Fire Brigade (LFB) are investigating the cause of the fire.
Is the cause of the fire being investigated?
Yes, LFB are investigating the cause of the fire and we are following this closely.
Have there been any injuries or casualties because of the fire?
One man and one woman were treated at the scene on Sunday for smoke inhalation but thankfully there were no other injuries.
Have people been given temporary accommodation and is there a plan to rehome residents?
Yes – our rest centre was set up on Sunday to give everyone affected a safe place to go where we could determine their immediate needs. As well as food, water and clothing, we have provided temporary accommodation since Sunday for residents who needed it, while some families chose to make their own arrangements and stay with family or friends. Insurance companies are also doing their bit and have placed some families in temporary accommodation.
Are any of the residents affected vulnerable or known to the council?
Two residents are and we are working with them and their families to ensure their needs are looked after. We also social care staff at the rest centre.
What should affected residents do if they are concerned about their health?
Specialist support is being offered by local NHS colleagues and British Red Cross at our rest centre. British Red Cross are also extending this offer to people living near the site who might need support - details of this have been posted to people nearby today. If anyone has any general concerns about their health, they are advised to contact their GP.
Is there help for people who lost important documents in the fire?
We have spoken to the passport office and DVLA to make sure they can send a team down if any residents involved in the fire lost their passport or driving licence and urgently need a replacement. This offer has been communicated to everyone involved in the fire.