21 September 2019

Fire on Pankhurst Avenue - updates

Latest information from Brighton & Hove City Council at 1.45pm, Sunday 22 September on the fire on Pankhurst Avenue

  • The Edge Community Centre is open again today until 4pm with local residents, council staff and Guinness Partnership liaison officers there and ready to help and support anyone affected by the fire.
  • Thank you again to local residents who continue to care for and support their friends and neighbours. Cash donations to support people affected can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/pankhurst-flats-fire-campaign
  • Local residents are organising donations of clothes, food, blankets and household items please email them at pankhurstavenue@gmail.com  with details of anything you would like to donate.
  • The council has arranged for mental health specialists skilled in supporting people experiencing shock and anxiety following incidents like large fires to be at the Edge Community Centre today – please ask for help if you need it.
  • As landlord, Guinness Partnership’s health and safety team are working closely with East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service to decide when it will be safe for residents to return to their flats to collect their possessions. Everyone’s safety is paramount in this assessment and decision but as soon as the details are confirmed this will be communicated with residents directly via the Guinness liaison staff, the council team and via all local and digital media channels. 
  • Hotel accommodation - bed, breakfast, and dinner - was secured for last night until and including Tuesday night for all residents who need it. Guinness Partnership is working to arrange longer term accommodation.  The council is supporting Guinness with this work.
  • As is the procedure in any fire, an investigation into the cause has already started.  Senior staff from East Sussex Fire & Rescue, Guinness Partnership and the council will meet early this week to share initial findings and take any immediate action. A public meeting for residents will be arranged shortly after.
  • We’re working with local residents and the Guinness Partnership to ensure that the Edge Community Centre remains open to support residents tomorrow and Tuesday 10am to 3pm and an assessment will be made whether there is a need for this to continue later in the week.
  • Guinness Partnership will remain in daily contact with residents for the foreseeable future. This will be confirmed along with all other support later on Sunday. Anyone needing help can call the Guinness Partnership helpline on 03031 231890

Statement from Councillor Nancy Platts, Leader of Brighton & Hove Council on the fire on Pankhurst Avenue - 1.30pm Saturday 21 September

“My thoughts are with everyone affected by the fire, many of whom will have lost all their possessions. We will do everything we can to help people rebuild their lives after this tragic incident.

“Thank you to the local community who have been so supportive to their friends and neighbours. Thank you too to the firefighters and recovery staff from the East Sussex Fire & Rescue and to the local councillors and council staff who have also been on site helping residents.

“If anyone needs advice and support, please go to the Edge Community Centre where there are councillors and council and housing association staff who will help you. They are there today and tomorrow. More support will be available in the weeks and months ahead.”

Latest information at 10.30am on Saturday 21 September

Yesterday evening the council worked closely with East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service to support residents following a large fire in a housing association block of flats on Pankhurst Avenue.

No casualties were reported but at one stage between 40-50 people were helped in a rest centre in the Edge Community Centre. We believe everybody was able to find alternative accommodation with friends and family.

The fire at Pankhurst Avenue is now in a recovery phase and the council is working with a number of agencies including the Red Cross to attend to the immediate needs of any residents, including our social care clients, who may need our support. A GoFund me page has been set up by local residents for people to donate to.

Council staff are on site and we will be working with the Guinness Trust to resolve accommodation needs as speedily as we can. We are also door knocking and speaking with local residents about the lack of electricity and gas in some properties.

We are still currently using Edge Community Centre this morning as a base. Please talk to council staff and the Guinness Trust liaison officer on site and use the council's website, Facebook page and Twitter account to get information.

There are a number of key events taking place in the city including at the nearby race course. There may be disruption to business and community events near the site and we’ll be working with the emergency services to do what we can to limit any adverse impacts.