The councilor says Barton House “was not built according to plans”.

  • Written by Rhiannon Yenell
  • BBC News

Video explanation,

Hundreds of people have left Barton House due to safety concerns over the apartments

A city council member said the tower undergoing an emergency evacuation was not built according to plans.

More than 400 residents were forced to leave Barton House in Bristol on Tuesday, as the council declared a major incident.

Key Dodd, Cabinet Member for Housing and Energy Services, said the problems lie with the concrete sections.

“If the building was built as designed, we wouldn’t have this problem,” he said.

“The problem is the construction of the building and the work that was done at that time, it wasn’t built to design specifications — that’s the problem we’re dealing with.”

Bristol City Council declared a major accident after building surveys showed that Barton House, built in 1958, would not be safe in the event of a fire or explosion.

Comment on the photo,

Bristol City Council declared Barton House unsafe and an emergency evacuation was carried out

“I had a briefing on Monday where the structural engineer’s report was presented to me and it looked pretty bad, so I told the team we needed to prepare for a potential emergency evacuation,” Mr Dodd said.

“But we also had to seek further advice from the fire brigade, so we had another meeting the next day… and we had some preparations as to where we were likely to take people.

“We had to make the decision based on the information we had because the safety of the residents was of the utmost importance.”

The council said people were asked to pack enough clothes for a day or two and stay with friends and family or go to rest centres.

Many of them were taken on buses to temporary accommodation, carrying their belongings in bags and plastic bags.

Video explanation,

BBC correspondent John Maguire explains the reasons why hundreds were forced to leave their homes

“I did not leave. There was advice to go to certain points. I went and no one knew what was happening,” she said.

“No update after today and I will be back tonight.”

Another woman, who has lived in the building for nine years, said she stayed at a friend’s house with her two children.

“After tonight, I don’t know where I’m going,” she said.

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Resident Wilfred Stewart said there were cracks in the walls of his apartment

Wilfred Stewart lives in an apartment on the tenth floor of Barton House.

The 50-year-old showed the BBC a tour of his apartment, which had cracks in the walls and what appeared to be support beams.

He said he painted over the cracks several times, but they kept coming back.

“This crack has been here for years and it’s next to my back door. The wall is almost separate from the door.”

Mr Stewart said there were a lot of elderly people living in the building, as well as children.

He added: “Some people were able to get hotels to stay overnight, but many people went to the mosque or GP surgery down the road.

“I hope we get better communications today.”

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