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Two fires in 24 hours at same mental health home leaves neighbours calling for action

Paxton Court Paxton Court

Monday, August 4, 2014
10:11 AM

Two fires within 24 hours at the same mental health home have got neighbours calling for action.

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Both blazes took place at Paxton Court, in Westbourne Road, Holloway – an assisted care home for the mentally ill – during the weekend.

On Sunday a tenant put a pan on the hob and went out – the building was evacuated and no one was injured.

But the other fire took place at night, when the residents are left unsupervised – and people in the area say this has to change, because the building was only given planning permission on the condition it would be looked after 24 hours a day.

One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “We live almost above and our window is right by their roof.

“One of my sons had to run out the flat with no shoes as the smoke started coming in to our flat, my neighbour came out in her dressing-gown.

“Paxton Court is for people with mental problems, so while I have the utmost respect for them to try and lead a normal life, they are not supposed to ever be unsupervised, especially at night.

“Even two of the residents living in Paxton Court have said they are scared at night.

“Now the kids are on holiday, the windows are open and I am scared to sleep.

“What if one of those flats has a gas bottle heater?

“It is absolutely shocking to live with fear. I just think something needs to be done and very quick. It is a serious accident waiting to happen

“Two house fires in the same block is not normal, or acceptable.”

Another person who lives in the area added: “thought there was someone with them all the time. If there isn’t, then that’s wrong.”

A spokesman for Origin Housing, which runs the home, confirmed the 11 tenants of Paxton Court were unsupervised between 10pm and 7am, but had alarm systems they could use, and had all been risk assessed and deemed not to require 24 hour support.

He added: “There was a fire on Saturday night within a resident’s flat which is still under investigation. The fire brigade were not called out but there were signs of there being a fire within the property.

“There was also a completely unrelated and minor fire on Sunday during the day, when staff were on site and a smoke alarm went off in the tenant’s flat. The tenant had gone out leaving a pan on the electric hob.

“The fire brigade were called out by the staff on site.”

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