A fire which left one man dead and eight others injured was caused by an electric bicycle, an investigation has found.
The blaze ripped through the top floor of Twinnell House in Easton, Bristol, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
It started on the sixteenth floor at around 2am and led to a full evacuation of the building.
One person died in the fire, with eight more currently in hospital receiving treatment. A further three people were treated by paramedics at the scene.
The tower block was closed following the blaze while Bristol City Council, who own the building, conducted a full investigation into what caused it and whether the building was safe to inhabit.
Area Manager Steve Quinton – who conducted the fire investigation for Avon Fire and Rescue – said: ‘Fire investigation commenced in daylight hours on Sunday morning.
‘Fire investigators, supported by a fire investigation dog, at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, identified the cause of the fire as accidental, due to an electric bike.
‘Fire investigation revealed that smoke alarms were provided in the property and electrics wired in by the landlords.
The flats have now reopened and the building has been declared safe.
Yet residents say the council did nothing when they raised concerns of the amount of electric bikes being stored on the upper floors.
Ahmed Sharif, who lives on the third floor of the tower block with four children, says he had been warning the caretaker for months about the safety hazard the bikes presented but was ignored.
He told the BBC the bikes being stored on the property were cheap, ‘homemade’ versions not licensed by any proper manufacturer.
‘Someone actually designed it poorly and most of them actually have a cheaper version of Lithium ion batteries, which could be more dangerous,’ he said.
The issue had been ‘raised several times’, with management but nobody had done anything about it, he added.
Some residents reported not hearing any fire alarms as the fire started to spread at around 2.15am.
Resident Mark Barrett, who lives on the fourth floor of the building, described how he only knew there was a problem when he went open his window to ‘get some fresh air’ and was exposed to the commotion around him.
‘As I open the window I heard what can only be described as … a muffled scream and a second or two later I see a guy fly past me,’ he said.
Councillor Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes at Bristol City Council, said: ‘We’d like to offer our condolences to the family and friends of the person who sadly lost their life on Sunday.
‘Many people will feel affected by this tragedy, and I’d encourage residents to seek support from the Council’s housing team who will continue checking in on everyone.
‘I’d like to thank everyone who responded so swiftly to help out when our community needed it most. This includes the heroic efforts of our emergency services and colleagues on the front line.’
Avon and Somerset Police Superintendent Tony Blatchford said: ‘Our thoughts firmly remain with the family and friends of the man who tragically died.
‘We’d like to reiterate our thanks to the local community for all their co-operation and support during the emergency response phase of this incident.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, check our news page.