Around 2am on Monday morning, Police and Fire and Rescue services received a report of a fire in the first floor of a tenement in Albert Drive. Three men aged 32, 60 and 61 jumped from a window on the first floor. All three men were taken to Glasgow’s Victoria Infirmary where they were detained in a stable condition.
Three other people were evacuated from the building. A further six were evacuated from a nearby building as a precaution.
Officers are now treating the fire as suspicious and a joint investigation is underway. Because of the unsafe condition of the building, the investigating officers from both services have been unable to carry out thorough investigations.
Occupants of the building, including local businesses, have also been unable to return due to essential work required to make the building safe.
There are no descriptions of any suspects and officers are appealing for anyone who was in or around Albert Drive around 2am to contact them. They are particularly keen to speak to anyone who may have seen someone hanging around or acting suspiciously or anyone running away from Albert Drive.
Anyone with any information should contact Gorbals Police Office on 0141 532 5374. Alternatively they can contact CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111 where they can remain anonymous.
‘They’ve just blown up my childhood!’ That was the emotional, spontaneous, reaction from Finlay McKay, one of the hundreds of people watching Red Road flats being demolished on Sunday 10 June in Glasgow.
Firefighter Finlay was born and brought up on the 25th floor of the Petershill Drive triple block. ‘Staying there was fantastic. I loved it. I’ve still got the pals I had then and living there made me the person I am today. But now, seeing the building come down so very, very quickly….I’m shocked.’ The 42-year-old had brought his daughter Cara (9) and her friends Connor (6) and Taylor (8) to see the GHA’s latest move in its massive re-generation plans. Since GHA was formed in 2003, Scotland’s largest social landlord has invested more than £1.1 billion in refurbishing, modernising and improving homes across the city.
Said Finlay: ‘I left in 1991. My Mum and Dad are dead, now. I’ve moved to my own house in Swinton and tell stories of growing up in the Red Road flats, but that’s the last physical link with ‘who you are’ – gone for me. I thought the building would come down in stages, so I’m shocked it happened so suddenly.’
The controlled explosion used around 275 kilos of explosive to bring down the triple block in seconds. The lower ten storeys of the steel-framed building will be demolished later using long reach machinery. The entire site will take months to clear. Steel will be re-cycled and the rubble crushed to make foundations for roads and buildings.
Around 2000 people were temporarily evacuated from their homes in the area, including residents of a care home, to allow the operation to be completed safely.
Said GHA Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, Alex McGuire: ‘The Red Road flats were popular in their day and are known around the world, but their time has come to an end. We’re pleased the demolition of the first of them went according to plan.’ The remaining seven multi-storey blocks will be demolished by 2017.
William Sinclair, Managing Director of demolition contractors Safedem, said: ‘The Red Road flats have presented a unique series of challenges ranging from the size of the buildings to the steel frame structure.We’re delighted to be involved in another successful demolition for GHA – our 17thwith them since 2005.’
MSP Patricia Ferguson also spent her childhood in a flat in a Red Road block. ‘My family left a room and kitchen in Maryhill to come to a fantastic flat on the 21st floor of a different block from the one demolished today,’ she said after watching the event. ‘The thing to remember is – that tenement with the room and kitchen – is still standing. It has been re-furbished and continues to provide good homes for people. But there is no doubt, the Red Road flats have come to the end of their time and it is right that they come down now.’
A BBC Newsnight film on living in the Red Road flats is due to be screened on Monday 11 June at 22.30.
By Martin Graham
Glasgow City Council has announced a £1.5m fund to help private homeowners to carry out essential repair work.
The fund, along with the new powers granted to local authorities as part of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, means that the council can enforce work to be carried out to resolve the issue, especially prevalent in tenements, where a minority of owners are unwilling to pay their share of essential repairs.
The money will be allocated from the Council’s Private Sector Housing pot and will be set aside into a fund that can be used to cover the costs of moderate repair work carried out under statutory notice.
Work paid from the fund will be replenished as accounts and fees are repaid to the council, with the local authority charging a fee of 15% to cover its technical and administrative costs.
A lack of participation by some homeowners often means that problems such as rain penetration is not dealt with, dampness not treated and this lack of timely remedial action leads to a much more serious and expensive repair, and misery for those owners willing, but unable, to get consensus to address the problem.
Until now, the council was unable to assist owners or property mangers in carrying out this work because it did not have the necessary resources to cope the scale of the problem and the housing services lacked the appropriate power to enforce the work by all owners.
As reported in the Local News previously, lack of repairs to properties can lead to buildings becoming dangerous, like the property on Cathcart Road in Mount Florida which was in such poor repair that masonry was falling on to the pavement below.
Councillor Elaine McDougall, Executive Member for Housing, said: ‘We regularly receive calls from frustrated home owners, across the city, in tenemental properties, who cannot gain agreement from all owners to pay for minor but essential repair work to their properties.
‘Up until now, we have been unable to assist all of these owners or property managers but this new power allows us to enforce the work to be carried out and recover the full cost from all the owners.
‘This scheme will help to improve the quality of the city’s older housing stock, preserving it for future generations, and I would hope that if proved successful, this self-sustaining fund can be expanded in the future.’
This is a step towards the model for property management common in Edinburgh, where there are no factors for tenement closes, rather the council acts as property manager and issues statutory notices for essential repairs to each homeowner.
Residents in Mount Florida are extremely concerned about the danger of falling masonry from a building in the area.
The close at 1023 Cathcart Road is four storeys high with a restaurant, the Pearl of India, on the ground floor.
Peter Rose lives on Hampden Terrace, just around the corner from the danger site. He reported the problem to the council.
He said: “I have a young family, including a 6 month old baby in a pram and a four year old daughter.
“We pass by there every day, so I am concerned for the safety of my family.
“Even after the fencing was put up there was more masonry falling on to the pavement.
“A larger piece could easily fall off and hit someone or go into the road.”
There is a lane to the side of the building and the corner flats have large round bay windows.
The masonry has been crumbling from the lintel above the bay window of the top floor flat and falling on to the pavement below.
Glasgow City Council has erected safety fencing to keep pedestrians away from the danger area.
A spokesman for the council confirmed that they were aware of the problem and that it was council officials who installed the safety fence.
The council are in dialogue with the owners to address repairs to the property.
The close has no factor at present, so the council is working with the six owners to try and get consensus on what to do. This is expected to add considerably to the timescale for repairs.