There is flammable cladding on the exterior of the building. After the cladding Lacrosse fire at our own Docklands and the Grenfell Tower fire in London, many Victorian buildings were checked and many had flammable cladding. They were risk rated, and Neo 200 was given a medium risk rating. We are not allowed to know which buildings as there is a risk of arson attack.
Soon after the fire I heard one resident say she did not hear any fire alarm. Fire alarms so far as I know are confined to a few floors near where the alarm was triggered. This might need to be rethought in the light of cladding fires. Every floor above a fire should get a fire alarm in the case of flammable cladding.
Australia's building fire alarm and fire suppression standards are excellent. You can read about our own building's fire system here, which I wrote after the Grenfell Tower fire.
This Friday residents were supposed to able to return to their apartments in the Neo 200 building after two weeks. Not so, said City of Melbourne. Sunday at the earliest now. Ten apartments are not inhabitable and won't be perhaps for up to a year.
But what I read today disturbed me greatly. Our newspaper The Age suggested that Neo 200's smoke alarm system was degraded and had not been properly maintained.
If true, how can this be? High rise buildings surely need to have contracted fire prevention maintenance by professional companies. I have seen our buildings checklist when the fire system maintenance company visits. How could Neo 200's smoke alarm system be degraded and poorly maintained? I feel a loss of faith and trust in Australia as a whole and how things work here.
If you live in a high rise building, go the full pressure to find out about the safety of your building.