Questions unanswered after Station Hill Reading fire

Eleven questions have been put to the consortium of companies that are in charge of the development in Reading which was hit by a fire last Thursday (November 23).

The fire affected the One Station Hill building, resulting in a worker being rescued by a crane operator and two contractors being treated for smoke inhalation.

The questions put to the developers were:

  1. Is the project going to be paused or delayed?
  2. Should the project be paused or delayed while further safety checks are carried out?
  3. how did the fire start on Thursday, Nov 23?
  4. How are the two contractors who have been treated for smoke inhalation?
  5. Who first raised the alarm and what steps were put in place?
  6. How did the employee become trapped on the roof?
  7. This is the second fire in five months at your Reading development, how has a second blaze occurred in such a short time frame?
  8. What was the cause of the first fire in July?
  9. Are they linked in any way?
  10. What will the Station Hill developers do to reassure its staff and public about its safety protocols?
  11. Has the Station Hill developers been referred to the health and safety executive?

Although these questions have been sent to the developers, many of them have been left unanswered, with a spokesperson only saying that an investigation is taking place.

The spokesperson for the Station Hill development said: “The safety of those on site and the wider public is always our first priority and we can confirm that no one was seriously injured during last week’s incident.

“We are currently working with our construction partners as well as the relevant authorities to establish the cause of the incident and will provide a further update upon the conclusion of this investigation.”

The fire has also prompted an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The action is being taken as Matt Rodda, the Labour MP for Reading East requested a HSE inquiry the day after the fire broke out.

A HSE spokesperson said: “We have opened an investigation into this incident and will consider all relevant matters throughout.”

The latest serious incident is the third that has occurred at Station Hill during the construction phase.

A scaffolding collapse happened early in the construction in August 2019, which prompted an HSE investigation.

Earlier this year, a fire broke out at the development site on Friday, July 7.

Despite that incident initiating a major response from firefighters and police, the Station Hill developers stated that it would not affect the ‘completion programme’ of the project.

Reading Borough Council assisted in the most recent fire by coordinating with the emergency services and conducting an initial inspection.

A spokesperson for Reading Borough Council said: “Our emergency response was activated due to the fire in Station Hill and we assisted our emergency service partners with their work.

“Our emergency protocols are there for the safety and security of our communities, and in the event of evacuations.

“Our Building Control service was involved in the initial inspection in the immediate aftermath of the fire to assess the safety of the building and continue to monitor the situation.

“The HSE is aware of the incident and will conduct any further investigation.”

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre