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Devon Mansions Fire Safety

To all residents of Devon Mansions,

Following the tragic events in North Kensington on 13 June, please find attached a response from Southwark Council to a recent enquiry from a  concerned fellow resident regarding fire safety measures in Devon Mansions.

 You can also find further information on Southwark Councils website, please see the link below.



"Although your block is an old block it has been built with levels of inherent passive fire protection.  This is to say that there is a level of fire separation between dwellings, vertically and horizontally keeping any fire to the dwelling of origin for a period of time. 

As part of our fire safety programme and in response to the coroner’s recommendations following the Lakanal fire, LD2 smoke detection has been installed in the dwellings of all our tower blocks and was also offered free of charge to leaseholders. The alarms are interlinked and consist of smoke detectors in all rooms and a heat detector in the kitchen.  When one sounds they all sound in the dwelling, thus giving the resident the earliest possible warning of a problem. The same systems are being rolled out to all other dwellings as part of the ongoing major works programme.  Linked LD2 systems are according to our systems installed in your dwelling.

Southwark does not have any communal smoke alarm systems installed in the common areas of our blocks for the following reasons.

In ‘general needs’ blocks designed to support a ‘stay put’ strategy, it is unnecessary and undesirable for a fire alarm system to be provided. A communal fire detection and alarm system will inevitably lead to a proliferation of false alarms. This will impose a burden on fire and rescue services and lead to residents ignoring warnings of genuine fires.

There is a concern that where communal alarms systems are installed and in the event that they were activated, this would be an indicator of fire or smoke in the escape route and residents evacuating their properties could potentially be entering an unsafe escape route and impede the emergency services. We would not usually fit communal smoke detection in a purpose built block of flats unless it was there to operate Automatic Smoke Control (AOV) but these smoke heads would not have sounders to warn anyone. Normally these would be activated on the arrival of the emergency services when they have to knock down a door or at the least open it to address the fire, hence allowing smoke to enter an escape route the AOV would then activate to remove any such smoke.

You have self closing fire doors protecting the escape stair and a secondary means of escape at the head of the stair, which although not required, is maintained and protected by a door on the staircase.  Emergency lighting is provided and regularly maintained and a fire risk assessment is undertaken by competent fire safety surveyors to highlight any issues they may find whilst on site. 

We have placed further information on our website, which answers a number of questions we have been asked following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower. This information can be found at http://www.southwark.gov.uk/firesafety. However, should you have any further questions or concerns, please email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will endeavour to answer them as quickly as possible.

Yours faithfully,


Gerri Scott

Strategic Director of Housing & Modernisation"

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