FIREFIGHTERS say Government complacency could lead to other Grenfell-style fires in high rise buildings across the country including Bradford.

The Fire Brigades Union wants minimum standards set by the Government so that there is no postcode lottery of resources committed to fight a blaze in a block of flats.

And the union has called for a national review of compartmentation, which is designed to stop fires spreading but which is believed to have failed in Grenfell and was the cause of the evacuation of Appleton Point in Bradford.

But the county fire service says they have enough resources to tackle fires in blocks of flats and the instances of a fire spreading through a building like it did at Grenfell have been rare.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “It’s no longer possible to claim that fire like Grenfell is unforeseeable. Firefighters were placed in an impossible situation that night. But two years on, the government still has not provided the planning and resources necessary to prepare firefighters for what are now completely foreseeable risks.

“It is extremely worrying that as part of their pre-determined attendances, some services only plan to send two engines to a fire in a high rise building. That is nowhere near enough to tackle a blaze which occurs when compartmentation fails, like it did at Grenfell.”

But West Yorkshire Fire Service’s Area Manager for Service Delivery Chris Kirby said the service was well prepared to tackle a high-rise fire.

He said: “Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, WYFRS attended 91 fires in buildings classified as ‘high rise’ (over 18m metres). These incidents occurred in buildings across West Yorkshire ranging from four floors up to 25 floors.

“All incident types that we attend attract a pre-determined attendance. Incidents in high rise buildings will have an immediate deployment of 4 fire engines including a provision for a high reach aerial appliance. If, following an assessment by the incident commander, additional resources are required, then these can be called upon and our 999 Control Centre will trigger the attendance of additional fire engines as requested from the scene.

“The majority of incidents that we deal with in high rise premises do not require any additional resources to be deployed over and above those sent on the pre-determined attendance.

“Of the 91 incidents attended across West Yorkshire (1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019), 84 of the incidents were either contained to the item first ignited, limited to the room of origin, or there was some smoke damage (contained to the flat where the fire started) from a fire that was out by the time the fire service had arrived.

“Four incidents resulted in the fire spreading to affect more than one floor, however no incident affected more than two floors. This fire spread usually occurs when the window fails and allows fire and smoke to track up the outside of the building, potentially damaging the window frame of the flat above.

“One of the more serious incidents was on the 20th floor of a high rise block in Leeds on 1 October 2018 and the incident commander requested an additional three fire engines to support the pre-determined attendance (seven in total) at this incident. We can resolve the vast majority of emergency incidents using our own resources, deployed from the 40 fire stations we have across West Yorkshire. However, occasionally, larger incidents can happen that may require us to call on the support of fire and rescue services across the region or nationally. We have arrangements in place to share such resources, when they are called upon.

“Our high rise training ensures that our crews remain familiar with the high rise residential blocks within their area so they know the best access routes, water supplies and internal layout of the building.

“In response to the Grenfell tragedy, we immediately put plans in place to provide reassurance to residents of high rise blocks and worked with housing providers and local authorities to provide information and advice to residents."

“We quickly assessed all buildings across West Yorkshire that we identified as having external ACM type cladding (the type of cladding that may be allow fire to spread over the outside of a building) and put interim measures in place to provide as much reassurance as possible.”

The service also says it is confident it will have enough resources to tackle high-rise fires if further cuts are made to its budget.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said: “The Service has an approved financial plan that sustains the numbers of fire engines and fire stations that we have for the foreseeable future. Our response arrangements are planned around how many fire engines and personnel we need at any given incident type and we will continue to deploy at that level.”

The Appleton Point block of flats had a prohibition notice issued in February due to issues relating to poor compartmentation. But Mr Kirby said: “The issue which arose at Appleton Point was due to a very specific set of circumstances and as such whilst it was a significant problem that had a huge impact upon residents, we do not see that those circumstances are replicated in other premises within West Yorkshire.”