I just spent the entire Radio Times show on hold, but didn't make it on air.
What I wanted to say is this:
I want to challenge several things the managing director said regarding the Thomas Buck Hosiery fire - not because I'm eager to assign blame, but because I think they are emblematic of systemic problems that need to be fixed in order to prevent this kind of tragedy in the future.
The managing director kept referring to the first notification to 311 being on November 2nd. I have a receipt for a complaint I made on October 31 which was marked as "Unfounded". I know others made complaints prior to the one I made because they told me how to make it.
Multiple times it was referred to that the building would be unsealed and resealed. This is true, as confirmed by neighbors. However, my complaint that was marked as "Unfounded" dealt with the danger of collapsing brickwork on the curtain walls and elsewhere on the building. This is not something that was in flux, and it was evident to all those who walked by.
The managing director said 3 notices were issued and then action taken, as he has in many forums. However, 3 notices were issued, and then there was a multi-month pause, and then a fourth notice was issued.
I would like further clarification as to what kind of notice was given. I have twice dealt with abandoned buildings - one next to my home and one across the street from Summerfield Church. It seems that often the "notice" is a piece of paper placed on the building itself. In the case of absentee landlords / speculators this is clearly inadequate.
It was also stated that there were no recorded police complaints regarding criminal activity (including trespass) at the site, so the city had no way of knowing there was a problem. However, this is not a failure of reporting - this is a failure of response. I know a neighbor who called 911 repeated times (his father estimated 20 or more times) to report trespassing. Most of the time there was no response. When the police did show, they never arrested, ticketed, or charged anyone. They simply made them leave the building and 'move along'. This shows another failure of enforcement in the city.
As I stated earlier, I am not a fan of 'witch hunts' to place blame. I do, however, believe in discovering where the system is failing and correcting failures and making other improvements - especially because it is needed to prevent this kind of tragedy in the future.
Quot capita, tot sensus