A resident at Easton’s Twinnell House tower block says it feels as though he and his wife are living inside a prison since a fire on the top floor of the high-rise building resulted in the death of a man in September.
Sadiq Omar and his wife, Halia, live on the 14th floor inside Twinnell House, the second-from-top floor. Since a fire, caused by the electric battery inside an E-scooter, ripped through the top floor, the pair’s lives have changed immeasurably - with Mr Omar claiming his wife is suffering from PTSD-like symptoms.
“She is a different person. Since the fire she does not sleep, she does not want to be alone - we always have to sleep with the window open,” he told Bristol World. When the fire broke out on September 25, Sadiq reported that he was made aware of the fire by sirens and did not hear an alarm inside the building - despite Bristol City Council claiming all safety measures worked.
“After the fire, the council told people about their safety checks and that the building was safe but I do not feel safe. I would like to have alarms in every room - when the fire happened the only alarm was at the main entrance. It still feels very dangerous living here, my wife will not be in the house alone so when I leave she will either come with me or will go to a friend's house to avoid being alone.
“She is not sleeping, which means I am not sleeping - we live on a busy road so there are sirens outside often and it is very scary for us because it reminds us of the fire. We asked the council for support and they sent us to a GP who could offer help with sleeping but not with the other issues. We are not the only ones, I have spoken to neighbours who say their kids do not sleep since the fire.”
The pair estimated they were getting less than four hours of sleep each night before visiting the GP due to concerns another fire would break out in the night. They also told Bristol World they have considered leaving Bristol if they are made to continue living at Twinnell House.
Mr Omar explained: “We also asked the council if we could be moved elsewhere - any kind of accommodation, even shared. I’m worried for both of our health, it feels like we are prisoners in this building. At the moment, I think the only way for us to get better is to leave Bristol but that would take time and it would be hard leaving family and friends. We hope we can be helped soon.”
Bristol City Council confirmed that it is “currently in consultation with council services about further communications with residents who live in tower blocks”. Adding that it plans to prioritise a channel of communication with residents living in high-rise accommodation.