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Gunwharf Quays tower block restored following high profile major blaze

Gunwharf Quays tower block restored following high profile major blaze

Following a major fire at student accommodation apartment block near Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, Paul Ryan and his team at Rainbow International were called in to provide their restoration expertise

The major blaze had taken over 40 fire fighters 2 hours to extinguish. The cause of the fire was a deep fat fryer that had been used and left unattended, this subsequently caught alight. The resulting fire completely destroyed the flat in which it was situated, whilst also causing soot and smoke damage to a number of the other flats and communal areas within the apartment block.

One of Rainbow’s USP’s that they can be onsite in an emergency situation within 2 hours anywhere within the UK, it didn’t take long for Rainbow’s rapid response technicians to arrive onsite to begin scoping out the work and putting together a plan of action. This means they can get to work right away, meaning they minimise the risk of secondary damage and they can get people back into their accommodation as quickly as possible. There was certainly a sense of urgency around this scope of works, as all of the students housed in the apartment block had to be placed into alternative accommodation whilst the building was being restored back to pre-incident condition. This was also quite a high profile case due to the location of the property (situated near Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays Harbour). The fire had been reported on local and national news and the area was frequently busy with pedestrians as there is a shopping centre situated very close by.

To avert any unnecessary delays the Rainbow technicians proceeded with the work to the communal areas; cleaning and decontaminating these areas in order to get them back to their pre-event condition. Whilst this was in progress there was a team of technicians inspecting each of the neighbouring flats to assess what work was required to get these fully restored.

The specialist water technicians reported on which of the flats in the apartment block required specialist injection drying. This drying technique is an alternative drying option which complements the traditional systems that can be used to accelerate the drying process.

This is achieved by introducing a flow of dry air directly into wet cavities behind walls, floors, ceilings or any other areas where moisture is trapped and inaccessible. During injection drying, holes are drilled to enable pipes to target dry air into wet cavities, collecting moisture and venting it out of the construction. Then dry air is forced down into the building construction via a hose system connected to pre-drilled holes.

Due to the water damage caused to a large number of the flats within the building; which was the result of the fire fighters using thousands of gallons of water to extinguish the fire. This drying technique was required to fully dry and restore these flats as quickly as possible, whilst also avoiding any secondary damage being caused. The technicians installed the high tech, top quality equipment over a number of days, ensuring they returned to the properties every 3-4 days to monitor the drying process, and where necessary move the pipework to target different areas.

Whilst the drying regime was being carried out, dust from drilling the holes for the pipework was settling throughout the properties. As a result Rainbow sent in a team of cleaning technicians to clean all surfaces and cover all contents with plastic sheeting. The technicians were unable to remove any of the contents from the site, as the customer requested that they all remain. As per the customer’s request the technicians went with the best option available so as to not cause damage to any of the contents within the flats and proceeded to document every item onto a comprehensive inventory list.

Specialist fire technicians cleaned 12 flats that were affected by fire and soot contamination. Specialist cleaning techniques were used to ensure all contamination was eradicated completely, ready for redecoration works to begin.

The grand scale of these works really praises the skills and expertise of Rainbow’s technicians. The Rainbow team in Portsmouth showed how meticulous and well-honed skills can take something that looks like a catastrophe and restore this back to pre-incident condition in the quickest time possible, and to the highest standards.