Rowe Court fire update

Alert message sent 31/12/2021 13:56:00

Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police


Dear Resident 
 
The emergency services and Reading Borough Council continue to work together to make the building structure safe and support those residents affected by the fire. 
 
Building stability
 
Due to adverse weather the condition of the building has deteriorated and further collapses are possible as the building is unstable. We cannot predict when or if this will happen, but we are monitoring the building and weather conditions closely.  
 
There are police officers on site 24/7 and although it is possible that a collapse could happen at any time, if and when this occurs, there is no need to call the emergency services. If a collapse does take place, it is expected that this could be loud as well as visible to those living nearby.  We appreciate this could be alarming or distressing but be assured that the exclusion zone already in place will continue to protect surrounding properties and keep residents safe. In the event of a collapse, we advise that you keep your windows and doors closed to prevent dust from entering your homes.
 
Accessing the building
 
Tragically, we know that one person has died as a result of this incident. Yesterday (30/12), a second deceased person was located in the building. It is likely these are the two people who have been reported missing, however we cannot confirm at this time. Their families are being supported by specially trained officers. Due to the dangerous state of the building, it is still not possible to safely recover either of the people. 

Our absolute priority is to recover those within the building respectfully, identify them and return them to their families. 
 
A detailed review of the building has taken place. This has confirmed that even once the scaffolding is completed it would still not be safe for the emergency services to enter. 
 
Therefore, once the scaffolding is complete in January, contractors will work with the Police Victim Identification and Recovery Team, the Fire & Rescue Service and crime scene investigators to remove individual parts of the building in a careful and controlled manner.  
 
Due to the careful approach required this work will need to take place over a protracted period and we will strive to keep noise and dust to a minimum, please bear with us. We hope to be able to provide a better estimate of timeframes once this work begins.

Further help and support

Help and support continues to be available from Reading Borough Council and their Contact Centre is available 24/7 please call 0118 937 3787 and stay on the line to be put through to emergency support, to help or signpost you to appropriate partner organisations.

Victims First can also provide free emotional support and information. The office will be closed on certain days over the festive period – check opening hours at www.victims-first.org.uk  
 
When the Victims First office is closed, you can alternatively contact: 
Mind information line - 0300 123 3393 
The Samaritans (open 24/7) – 116 123 
 
Thank you for your patience and co-operation during this difficult time. 

You can read the full press release on the Thames Valley Police website.
Message sent by
Emma Tarry (Police, Communications Officer, Thames Valley)

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