Residents of Bristol's tower blocks call for improved safety after fatal fire

  • Watch Max Walsh' report

Residents of tower blocks in Bristol are calling for improved safety in their buildings following a fatal fire at Twinnell House which left one man dead.

Abdul Jabar Oryakhel, 30, fell to his death while trying to escape the fire on the 16th floor. Some residents have reported not hearing any fire alarms, but the authorities insist safety measures worked correctly and allowed everyone to be evacuated.

Selma Muuse who lives in a flat opposite the one where the fire started described how she struggled to carry her six-year-old son barefooted down 16 flights of stairs. She says there is "no way" she feels safe in her flat.

At the meeting, organised by the community union Acorn, residents demanded:

  • Fit sprinklers through all BS5 housing blocks

  • Employ day and night fire wardens until sprinklers have been fitted

  • Carry out fire safety checks at least once a year

Among the city council representatives invited was the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, who did not attend. Councillor Tom Renhard, who is the cabinet member for housing, apologised for not being there.

In an email to residents Mr Renhard wrote: "The ‘stay put’ policy allowed the Fire Service to quickly control the fire and put it out. The cladding did not cause the fire to spread. The fire doors and compartmentation prevented the fire from spreading."

Abdul Jabar Oryakhel's neighbour, Selma Muuse remembers the night she and her six-year-old son ran from the fire. She has still not been allowed to return home.

Despite seeing smoke seeping through her door, she did not hear a fire alarm.

Some residents say they do not feel safe in their home anymore

Selma Muuse said: "I thought that we might die. I thought if my son inhales [the smoke] he will die. I just have to cover his mouth as much as I can. Or we stay inside and die," she said.

Selma says she no longer wants to live in her home.

"I told the council, there is no way we feel safe in the property. We ran out of that house bar footed to save our lives and now we are being forced to go back."

Bristol council have said they will inspect every tower block in the city to ensure they meet fire safety regulations.