THE property developer responsible for a building which went up in flames last week has refused to answer questions to the press about how the fire started.

As previously reported, two people were dramatically rescued from the roof of the burning skyscraper last week, narrowly avoiding serious injury.

It is the third incident at the site since the works began - scaffolding collapsed in 2019 and a fire broke out in July.

As the Health and Safety Executive has launched an investigation into One Station Hill, the Chronicle has put a number of questions to developer Lincoln who is responsible for the site. 

The questions, which did not receive direct answers, are:

  1. Is the project going to be paused or delayed?
  2. Should the project be paused or delayed while further safety checks are carried out?
  3. How did the fire start on Thursday, Nov 23?
  4. How are the two employees who have been treated for smoke inhalation?
  5. Who first raised the alarm and what steps were put in place?
  6. How did the employee become trapped on the roof?
  7. This is the second fire in five months at your Reading development, how has a second blaze occurred in such a short time frame?
  8. What was the cause of the first fire in July?
  9. Are they linked in any way?
  10. What will the Station Hill developers do to reassure its staff and public about its safety protocols?
  11. Has the Station Hill developers been referred to the health and safety executive?

A spokesperson for Lincoln responded to say safety was its “first priority”.

The spokesperson for the Station Hill development said: “The safety of those on site and the wider public is always our first priority and we can confirm that no one was seriously injured during last week’s incident.

“We are currently working with our construction partners as well as the relevant authorities to establish the cause of the incident and will provide a further update upon the conclusion of this investigation.”

READ MORE: Like something out of an action film" My experience of the fire at Station Hill

The fire has also prompted an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The action is being taken as Matt Rodda, the Labour MP for Reading East requested a HSE inquiry the day after the fire broke out.

A HSE spokesperson said: “We have opened an investigation into this incident and will consider all relevant matters throughout.”

Reading Chronicle: The blackened glass on the One Station Hill building following the fire.The blackened glass on the One Station Hill building following the fire. (Image: Mr Tony McGinn)

The latest serious incident is the third that has occurred at Station Hill during the construction phase.

A scaffolding collapse happened early in the construction in August 2019, which prompted an HSE investigation.

Earlier this year, a fire broke out at the development site on Friday, July 7.

Despite last week’s fire, the Station Hill developers said it would not affect the ‘completion programme’ of the project.

A spokesman for Reading Borough Council said: “Our building control service was involved in the initial inspection in the immediate aftermath of the fire to assess the safety of the building and continue to monitor the situation.

“The HSE is aware of the incident and will conduct any further investigation.”