Monday update as regards incident at Osney Mead in West Oxford

Firefighters from Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service today remain at the scene of last week’s incident in Osney, West Oxford.

A total of 12 firefighters are spending the day sifting through rubble and debris as part of the joint investigation with Thames Valley Police in to the cause of the incident.

Incident Commander Julian Green said: “We’ve now been at the site for six days and firefighters have worked tirelessly alongside professionals from partner organisations as part of a multi-agency response. It is anticipated that we will remain at the scene today and then at some point later in the week we will hand the site over to A2Dominion who are responsible for the flats. We don’t have a precise time for when that might be at this stage.

“This has been a significant incident for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue and, as ever, we are grateful to our many partner agencies for the support and assistance they have provided in the last six days.”

Supt Joe Kidman, LPA Commander for Oxford City, said: “Emergency services have been making significant progress over the weekend on site.

“Investigation work by detectives, crime scene investigators and fire Investigators has been moving forward at pace, with the support of A2Dominion’s contractors.

“Safety remains paramount and access to the site has to be carefully monitored in order to ensure the safety of everyone. However should progress continue unhampered it is expected that emergency services will move off site by mid-week.

“We are very conscious of the impact this incident has had on the immediate community. Our neighbourhood policing team has been actively working on the ground in conjunction with other agencies including facilitating A2Dominion in discharging their responsibilities to residents who remain on site and those who have been displaced by this incident.”

David Lingeman, Group Director of Property Services at A2Dominion said: “Over the weekend we have been assisting the fire crews from Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service, Thames Valley Police and other agencies who are continuously working on making the buildings and area safe again.

“As of today, there are still 13 households staying in alternative accommodation.

“On Friday 17 February, three households were able to return to their homes and today three more households will be able to go back to Gibbs Crescent.

“We are continuing our work to confirm when displaced residents will be able to return to their homes. We are also trying to arrange access to properties, which are safe to enter, to enable residents to collect their personal belongings.

“Three properties (flats 3, 5 and 7) were demolished by the explosion and due to the extent of the damage, it is likely that five properties (flats 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8) will have to be demolished.

“We are meeting with affected residents from these properties today to discuss long-term alternative accommodation.

Investigation update

Thames Valley Police issued a further update on the ongoing investigation at 1:50pm. It can be read here