In the early hours of Tuesday 12 July, an external fire was deliberately started at our Abbey View residential block. We understand that this was undoubtedly a frightening incident for everyone involved and want to reassure everyone that the safety of our residents and communities remains our top priority.
Please be assured that fire safety is something we take incredibly seriously. We are pleased that the building was evacuated safely and want to extend our thanks to everyone involved for working together with the agencies on site and for looking after their friends and neighbours during this serious event.
We have been working in partnership with Watford Borough Council, Herts Fire and Rescue Service and Herts Constabulary to reassure our residents and to ensure that they have all the help and support they need.
Whilst the majority of residents have been able to return to their homes, we have worked closely with Watford Borough Council to arrange alternative accommodation for the five families who were not able to return.
We have invested over £1m in improving the fire safety measures at Abbey View and Munden View to ensure that they exceeded the building regulations, including the installation of sprinkler systems throughout both blocks.
All areas of the flats are comprehensively covered by sounders and the sprinkler system – which are designed to only activate in areas that are immediately affected by fire, in line with the fire strategy which has been developed in partnership with Herts Fire and Rescue Service – and all Watford Community Housing properties are subject to extensive and regular fire risk assessments and inspections by the fire service.
We have enhanced the overnight security presence at both our high-rises and had a team on site today (13 July) thoroughly cleaning the block to address the smoke damage.
Safety inspections at Abbey View and Munden View are regularly carried out by Herts Fire and Rescue Service – along with training exercises aimed at preparing emergency service personnel to deal with a fire at high-rise blocks. If you have any additional concerns regarding fire safety, you can request that the fire service perform a free home safety visit by contacting your local fire station.
If you feel you are in need of additional support with mental health issues, whether as a direct result of this incident or not, you access help free of charge through our partners at Herts Mind. Visit their website at www.hertsmindnetwork.org or call 02037 273 600 and ask to speak to Danielle Levy to find out more about the services they offer.
We’re also working with local charities and other organisations to arrange for distribution of essential goods to those directly impacted. Please contact our Communities Team on 0800 218 2247 or by emailing email@example.com if you would like to find out how you can access these goods.