At a meeting of Liverpool City Council last Wednesday evening, in item 7 Mayor of Liverpool Announcements and Updates Mayor Anderson (on his 60th birthday) after an update about the suspended Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald, gave a brief update on what had happened following the fire at a Liverpool City Council run multi-storey car park (Liverpool Echo Arena car park) on Sunday 31st December 2017.
Mayor Anderson (who can be watched in the video above), thanked the fire service and the other emergency services in their role responding to the fire. He also thanked Liverpool City Council staff, specifically the seven members of staff on duty manning the car park who had been involved with the evacuation of the car park. Liverpool City Council staff had made sure that the emergency services were called and stopped people going back into the car park.
He went on to explain about how people affected by the fire were supplied with accommodation and how Liverpool City Council had worked with hoteliers to do so on a “wet and wild” night.
Mayor Anderson referred to thank yous about the support given. He thanked staff at the Arena and Convention Centre and the Pullman Hotel who had supported the city through difficult times. He had asked the Association of British Insurers to urge their members to deal with insurance claims quickly. In response he had received a letter back stating that 96% had already been met.
The discs in the CCTV in the car park had been “rescued” and been “enhanced”. Copies of the video footage had been given to insurance companies. The inside of the car park had also been safely filmed by drone. There had been a lot of questions asked and he said that “some people want to bring politics of course into this which is often the case”.
On the subject of whether the car park should have had sprinklers, he stated that the car park met the legal requirements and that “car parks are for parking your car”.
Continuing he stated that the fire had started on the 3rd floor, it had started in a 16 year old car, that looked like it had been converted to a different type of fuel.
Liverpool City Council’s insurers had been “cooperative” and Liverpool City Council was dealing with them. He expected that their “full costs would be met”. Liverpool City Council staff had been on site on the day of the fire and the next day. Work had been done in an urgent way with four weeks of work carried out in a week.
He said “things are in hand”, and he wanted to make it very clear “how privileged we are to have such dedicated, professional and responsible staff”.
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Further investigation found the same problem at eleven additional PFI sites.
Wirral has a number of schools constructed using PFI that are managed by Wirral Schools Services Limited. It is not known if any of the schools on the Wirral are affected by this. Here is the information from the report.
“Case Study 2: Fire Separation in Major Construction projects
24. A site visit to a local school on 9th January 2015 following a fire on 7th January 2015 (incident no 32304) identified serious fire separation concerns due to smoke spread from the ground floor kitchen to the 1st floor protected staircase.
25. The school was built as part of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) initiative. The investigation led to 11 additional PFI sites where the same issues were detected. As the issues potentially had national implications Protection Officers utilised the CFOA [Chief Fire Officer Association] Community of Practice to share the risk information. It was subsequently established that the same issue had been found in other major new-build / refurbishment projects across England with estimated repair bills totalling in excess of £100m.
26. Officers escalated the issue to the CFOA Fire Engineering Technical Standards Group due to the national potential in order that the risk information can be effectively shared with other Fire and Rescue Services and that national guidance is produced to ensure that these issues are dealt with consistently and effectively.”
Will either of the two Wirral councillors (Cllr Lesley Rennie and Cllr Jean Stapleton) on MFRA’s Performance and Scrutiny Committee ask if any of the Wirral PFI Schools (Leasowe Primary, Bebington High, Birkenhead Park School (previously University Academy Birkenhead and before that Park High), South Wirral High, Weatherhead High, Hilbre High, Prenton High, Wallasey High and Wirral Grammar Girls) or the two Wirral PFI City Learning Centres (Wallasey City Learning Centre and Hilbre City Learning Centre) are affected by this?
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