THE company managing an Oxford block of flats which went up in flames without any alarm is still to answer ‘very important questions’, local politicians say.

Oxford Fire and Rescue Service say regulations were breached in the Woodstock Close blaze on December 12 last year, as it emerged that having ‘no policy in respect of fire safety’ was one of multiple failings of its management company.

The roof on Peerless Properties’ building collapsed in the fire, but the company is yet to make any information public about why the alarms failed, what they plan to do to make the building safer and when residents will be able to move back in.

READ AGAIN: North Oxford fire - Alarms 'not heard', residents say

No one was hurt in the daytime blaze near the Church of SS Gregory and Augustine – which started in a roof cavity following repair work on the building – but answers are now being demanded seven months on.

Two workmen have previously told of how they ran into the building and hit alarms on multiple floors to no avail - before banging on every door to get people to safety.

Concerns have also been raised about what would have happened to elderly residents had the fire happened at night.

AS IT HAPPENED: Fire at block of flats in Oxford - six fire engines on scene

Speaking on behalf of the fire service, Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Chris Dyson said: “We found that there was no policy in respect of fire safety particularly with regards to who manages fire safety, a lack of maintenance to systems, who is authorised to silence the alarm, lack of fire safety notices and lack of information to contractors.”

He continued: “These were issues that constituted breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and were subsequently tackled by use of an Enforcement Notice and given two months to do the work required to bring the matters to a satisfactory conclusion.

“However, the breaches did not constitute such a risk to relevant persons of death or serious injury that would warrant a prohibition notice and therefore we would not have sufficient grounds for prosecution under Article 32 of the above Order.”

Oxford Mail:

It remains unclear how long residents will be out of their homes - and yesterday Oxford City councillor Liz Wade said she was not aware of when they would be moved back in.

Last week, residents from a burnt-out Blackbird Leys block were told they could face at least two months of living in temporary accommodation.

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran urged Peerless to respond to questions around what happens next and address concerns over residents' safety.

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She said: “We need answers to some very important questions. Who is going to be responsible for the increased premiums that will follow this? Who will take responsibility for weekly testing of the alarm system in all blocks?

“That responsibility must lie with Peerless. I will continue to monitor this situation alongside local councillors and make sure residents receive the reassurances they deserve.”

Peerless have been approached for comment repeatedly since the fire but have declined to comment on every occasion.

Oxford Mail:

Ms Moran added: "In situations like this, it is vital that property owners do everything they can to sort out the problem, and that they are completely open in how they do so.

"Residents have every right to know what has happened, and they deserve reassurances that changes are being made so that it won't happen again."

In an exchange with Ms Moran, Peerless’ owner Graham Hughes said before Christmas: "There is significant impact on the individuals who have been evacuated and we are working closely with them to find alternative accommodation in the area."

ALSO READ: Investigation after fire in Woodstock Close, North Oxford

However, when asked for information about the incident, Peerless representatives have refused to answer any of this newspaper's questions, claiming they will provide an update at a later date.

In a fire enforcement notice, the National Fire Chiefs Council urged those in charge of fire safety to “establish and, where necessary, give effect to appropriate procedures, including safety drills, to be followed in the event of serious and imminent danger to relevant persons.”

Oxford Mail:

Wolvercote and Summertown county councillor Paul Buckley praised the fire service’s action on the day and aftermath, adding: “I am very concerned that there were found to be failings in the fire safety management system in the flats.

“I am also very glad that this was picked up by fire service and, because of their concern, enforcement action has been taken, to ensure that this problem in the flats gets fixed.”

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In a letter sent to residents in January, Wolvercote councillor Liz Wade wrote: “We would like to know what is currently happening to help the families directly affected, and to assure all residents that the same could not happen again.

“We are ready, if needed, to help in any way we can."