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Meriden High Rise Flats Fire resident feared ‘another Grenfell’

Fire broke out and at 5am Emergency services were arriving to the 16 storey tower block of flats as residents evacuated with smoke belted out from the bottom floor.

Two boys aged 13 and 14 have been arrested and taken into custody on suspicion of arson.

Herts Fire and Rescue said: “We were called to reports of a fire in a bin store at a residential building in Garsmouth Way, Watford at around 5am this morning. Also confirmed fire started in a bin behind the tower by the bin store.

“Eight fire engines are on the scene and fire fighters evacuated floors one to four.

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Several floors have been affected by fire and smoke damage. [photo by WatfordMedia]

“Other emergency service colleagues are also in attendance. We can confirm that the fire has been put out and there were 10 pumps. One person treated on-scene for smoke inhalation”

Police put Road closures in place at the junction with Meridan Way & in The Gossamers at the junction with York Way.

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Fire Rescue on scene continue to check for source of the cause. [photo by WatfordMedia]

Tenants cannot return home until fire-safety checks have been carried out. Some will need temporary accomodation.

Guru Awasthi, who lives on the second floor, told the Watford Observer: “The smoke was coming and [there were] a lot of noises, and I just opened the door from my balcony and I saw the fire was there downstairs, then immediately I came out and myself and roommate started helping other people to come out.”

There was a lady on the second floor she had to leave her dog because she had to take the children.

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Windows blown out. [photo by WatfordMedia]

A temporary rescue centre has been set up at the Meriden community centre in Garsmouth Way.

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The meriden Community Centre Garsmouth Way. [photo by WatfordMedia]
Andrew had long covid but luckily his voice had recovered enough to shout his warning.

The owners and landlord Watford community housing have given us a reply:

When was the last full fire safety inspection carried out at the high rises?

They took place on Thursday 22nd June. Please note that our high-rises are subject to a Fire Risk Assessment annually, and these were already scheduled before the tragic events at Grenfell Tower.

It was reported about 2 years ago that we were going to install cladding on the high rises, why was this never installed?

There was never any intention to install cladding on the high rises, and therefore any reports to the contrary are inaccurate.

The trust is likely to issue a full statement at a later date. I hope their wellbeing and full support are looked after unlike the Gullet Wood Road Flat fire ehich occured on Friday evening in August 2018.

Police would like information from anyone that could assist the investiagtion to contact police on 101 quoting reference ISR 90 of 12 July, 2022.

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