Supporting residents of Joseph Rank House

Published date

Residents in Harlow are being supported after Essex County Fire and Rescue Service took the difficult decision to serve a prohibition notice on Joseph Rank House in Harlow town centre following significant fire safety concerns.  

The prohibition notice was served on Places for People, the owners of the building, last night (Thursday 27 June) and means that the residents living in the 44 occupied flats must move out from 9am today (Friday 28 June). The residents affected are being supported by Places for People, Harlow Council, and other agencies working in partnership including Essex County Council, Essex Police, and health partners.

Dan Partridge, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service's Area Manager, Prevention and Protection said:  

“We have issued a prohibition notice against Joseph Rank House, Harlow. This means the owners for the building must ask residents to evacuate the building immediately as we believe there is a threat to life related to fire safety. 

“Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will only ever serve a prohibition notice when it is absolutely necessary. We never want people to lose their homes, but our responsibility is to keep people safe and protect them from the risk of fire. 

“In this instance we are clear that the property does not meet fire regulations. Specifically, we believe if there was a fire in the building there is potential for rapid smoke spread both internally and externally. This would mean residents would not be able to evacuate safely and this would put residents at a higher risk of serious injury or death.

“It would therefore have been highly irresponsible for our Service not to immediately prohibit the use of the building.”

Councillor Dan Swords, Leader of Harlow Council, said: 

“Harlow Council is working closely with the building owner Places for People and other partners to support all the affected residents. From the time we were advised of the formal decision by Essex Fire Rescue, our teams have been working around the clock to ensure we are ready to assist.”