LETTERS have been sent to residents of a block of flats in Kidderminster explaining why their alarms didn't sound during a fire on Friday.

A man in his 80s was found dead inside a flat in Coniston House in Hurcott Road on Friday (March 1) after a fire broke out on the 7th floor.

The Community Housing Group, which owns the high-rise flats, has since sent out letters to tenants after receiving a complaint that fire alarms in a neighbouring flat and communal areas were not activated. The resident said they were only made aware of the fire when a neighbour knocked their door.

The letter from the housing group reads: "Each flat has a smoke detector wired in to the mains electricity (with battery back-up in the event of an electrical failure) which will sound within the individual flat where there is a fire.

Kidderminster Shuttle:

"As a further safety feature, each flat has a heat detector and smoke detector which is linked to our 24-hour monitoring centre.

"This means that in the event of a fire the sounders ring in the individual flat where there is a fire and our monitoring centre receives an alert to enable us to direct emergency services to the correct location.

"This system is monitored whether you are at home or not.

"There are no alarms in the communal areas as there are no combustible materials within them and all fire doors within the block are designed to contain any fires for up to one hour.

"These areas receive daily inspections 24-hour CCTV monitoring ensure they are kept clear of any hazards."

It goes on to say that the fire service will decide "if and when" to evacuate other parts of the building.

Marina Banner, executive director at The Community Housing Group, added: "What the fire service doesn't want is mass panic, with alarms going off all over the place and people running around while they are trying to do their jobs."

Around 10 residents were evacuated from Coniston House on Friday and three people, including a child, were taken to hospital for precautionary checks for smoke inhalation.

Hereford and Worcester Fire Service said the fire was contained to a single flat and is not being treated as suspicious.