Search

Rise in tall buildings in Norwich creates challenges for firefighters

PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:15 27 May 2019

The 32metre aerial ladder platform which has been bought secondhand for the Norfolk Fire Service from Essex. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The 32metre aerial ladder platform which has been bought secondhand for the Norfolk Fire Service from Essex. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2019

The increase in the number of people living in tall buildings in Norwich is creating new challenges for firefighters, but fire chiefs insist they are well equipped to cope with the city's changing skyline.

St Anne’s Quarter, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodSt Anne’s Quarter, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

If the Anglia Square development - which is the focus of a planning inquiry - goes ahead, it would include a 20-storey high residential tower block.

It comes at a time when offices are increasingly being turned into accommodation, which means more people in Norwich than ever before are living in high-rises.

Examples include the converted 13-storey Westlegate Tower and the nine-storey St Stephens Towers.

Newly-built Pablo Fanque House in All Saints Green is 13 storeys, while other blocks are taking shape in St Anne's Quarter and the Carrow Quarter near Norwich City's stadium.

Westlegate Tower, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodWestlegate Tower, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Such buildings join the likes of the 16-storey Normandie and Winchester Towers and the 11-storey towers in Mile Cross and Heartsease.

You may also want to watch:

In the aftermath of the tragic blaze at Grenfell Tower in London, where more than 70 people died in a blaze at the 24-storey block, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service carried out assessments of all city buildings of six floors and above.

The fire service recently bought a second-hand aerial ladder platform from their counterparts in Essex, but, like the current vehicle, that is only able to reach 32 metres - roughly nine storeys.

Pablo Fanque House, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodPablo Fanque House, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

However, Greg Preston, assistant chief fire officer, said his firefighters would not be relying solely on the platform when it came to battling flames in high rise buildings.

He said: "The buildings in Norwich are getting taller and that does present us with challenges. But, with the way new buildings are designed it means we are able to fight fires from within the buildings.

"The aerial ladder platform is a really valuable vehicle to have, but the modern buildings are designed with fire fighting lifts, which allow us to get into them.

"The modern buildings have lobby areas, which mean we can be in there, with a bulkhead, two floors below where the fire is and we can fight the fire from in there.

Geoffrey Watling Way, Norwich. Picture: Jamie HoneywoodGeoffrey Watling Way, Norwich. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

"That is why building design is so important."

Mr Preston said the fire service had carried out considerable work since the Grenfell tragedy and buildings were subject to regular inspection visits.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Norwich Evening News

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists