Help us reach our campaign target: Become a member
The Bristol Cable

This week in Bristol: The latest after deadly fire at Twinnell House

This Week in Bristol

In the news this week, tragedy struck at a Bristol tower block. After a top floor flat at Twinnell House in Easton was engulfed in flames, a man fell to his death trying to escape. 

The man has since been named as Abdul Jabar Oryakhel. Friends and family have paid tribute to the 30-year-old, who is believed to have left his family in Afghanistan to find a better life in the UK.

The blaze has rocked the local community after 90 people were evacuated, eight people were treated in hospital and many have been forced into temporary accommodation. With the Grenfire Fire tragedy still firmly in people’s minds, residents have spoken out about the traumatic events, as well as about feeling ignored by the council for years regarding conditions in the block.

When mayor Marvin Rees attended a community meeting on Thursday, some residents accosted and threw water at him. For months, we have been reporting on similar concerns of residents at neighbouring high-rise Lansdowne Court.

Twinnell House

An investigation found the deadly fire was accidental, caused by a fault with an electric bike. The council said all fire measures “worked well” and contained the fire to within the flat where it started. They said fire doors and alarms in the flat and on the top floor responded as expected given the circumstances.

This is despite the fact that multiple residents told us they didn’t hear any alarm and instead were woken by the smell of smoke, or by neighbours or fire fighters banging on their doors. Read our reporting on the aftermath.

This week, we have asked the council specific questions about fire safety protocols and how they’re handling the response. At time of writing, they haven’t responded. 

Community union ACORN have launched a fire safety campaign with local residents and we are now investigating the bigger picture – fire safety measures across the city’s 59 high rise blocks.

Thousands of Bristol Cable readers get this essential digest of local news sent to them every week.

Join them to cut through the noise with in-depth reporting and analysis.

Your Bristol news round-up

The UK’s inflation crisis, alongside existing shortfalls in social care budgets, have this year added up to a more than £31 million funding gap for Bristol City Council. Forecasts are showing the gap is expected to rise over the next few years “peaking at £37.5 million in 2027”, which cabinet member for finance Craig Cheney says is a result of decades of austerity from Westminster, and means a continued need to cut council services significantly over several years.

Almost half the Bristol taxi drivers who’ve applied for grants to replace their vehicles with ones that meet new clean air zone (CAZ) standards have been rejected. The council has earmarked £32 million of its low-emission vehicle transition funding to support private hire drivers specifically, but has rejected many cabbies for “not meeting the criteria”. The council haven’t detailed why, but Saif Hussain, chairman of the Bristol Blue Licensed Taxi Association explained that drivers may not be aware that “If you haven’t already bought a new vehicle, they won’t give you the grant”. Taxi drivers whose vehicles don’t meet the CAZ rules will face fines of up to £100 a day.

✊ Renters union Acorn held an event outside City Hall this week which it called ‘the REAL Renting Commission’ in response to being shut out of the council’s Living Rent Commission. Bristol renters were invited to discuss their experiences of private renting, abusive landlords and rising costs.

Five people from Bristol who engaged in a peaceful ‘sit-in’ protest outside Kingsbury Oil Terminal have been arrested and accused of breaching a High Court injunction (a court order to stop further protests after initial arrests). They were taking part in ongoing Just Stop Oil actions to demand an end to new oil and gas projects in the UK. Four have been released and one is due to stand trial this week.

?️ The Mayor has backed plans for a £200 million “sporting quarter” development next to Ashton Gate arena. A 3,600-seater convention centre, new offices, shops, a hotel, flats and a car park will be built, alongside a new development of 510 homes built nearby. The development will soon be voted on by councillors after getting its green light from planners and the mayor’s office.

⛔ Controversial plans to move 122 staff from six different council departments to Bristol Waste could be scrapped. It was revealed at a council meeting that Bristol Waste has not produced a business plan, something which added to existing fears around the employment rights of the staff.

?️ BBC Radio Bristol presenter James Hanson went viral this week for his grilling of Liz Truss on her cabinet’s ‘mini-budget’, accusing her of giving “scripted answers” and calling her out for passing the buck. Truss embarked on a spate of BBC local radio interviews on Thursday morning, which was widely perceived as a move that No.10 hoped would yield ‘softball’ questions, but during which she struggled to answer tough questioning from all local journalists involved.

Bristol Tyre Extinguishers, a protest group who deflate the tyres of gas guzzling SUVs, have deflated the tyres of 43 SUVs across Westbury Park and Redland overnight on Thursday. The direct action group claims to have “disarmed” 449 of Bristol’s SUVs since March, saying that while the large cars are “marketed as safe” they actually “put all other road users in danger.”

Bristol’s creative sector has expanded significantly as a result of greater film and TV production in the city, according to Bristol Film Office. The sector is estimated to have generated £20.8m in the city, an almost £4 million increase from the previous year and a 22% increase on pre-pandemic levels.

? The West of England Combined Authority has announced millions in investment for new climate-related projects across the region. Funding has been directed toward new woodlands and nature reserves, as well as for local wind turbine project, the Sustainable Innovative Foundations for Turbines.

Two more schools in Bristol, Minerva Primary Academy in Hillfields and Whitehall Primary School in Easton, have become ‘School Streets’. The roads outside the schools will restrict car use at drop off and pick up times, using temporary barriers to protect walking, cycling, and wheeling use.

This Week in Bristol: Thousands of Bristol Cable readers get this essential digest of local news sent to them every week. Sign up to join them and receive in-depth reporting and analysis that cuts through the noise of daily news.


Report a comment. Comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy.

Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

We’re working to diversify the Cable team. Let’s start with our freelancer base

The Cable exists to challenge the structure of the media, but we are not representative enough of our city. Here’s what we’re doing to change things.

How starting an arts festival helped me find community in Bristol

Grassroots groups have birthed a movement that celebrates and represents people from East and South East Asian communities. It has unleashed a ‘warm, communitarian energy’, writes the co-founder of MOON FEST, which takes place this weekend at the Trinity Centre.

Analysis: It’s time for politicians to come together on mass transit

A leaked report has concluded that underground sections are needed and achievable in Bristol’s future mass transit system. As we move to the next stage in the process, we need our politicians to work together.

Row over shopping centre demolition decision grinds on after government walks away from intervening

Council planning lawyer argues decision to refuse proposed redevelopment of Broadwalk Centre in Knowle in May did not rule out this being reversed – as happened a few weeks later.

Stand to be a Bristol Cable director

Do you think the Bristol Cable is an exciting project with potential to grow? Do you want to help us improve what we’re doing, further...

Healing is a justice issue: how can we radicalise the voluntary sector, amid a perfect storm of cuts?

When it comes to recovery from trauma, meeting people’s basic needs such as food, shelter, and physical safety is not enough. In an increasingly harsh environment, charities will need all their imagination and creativity to do more.

Community union’s intervention sees housing association eviction halted amid disrepair claims

Rent arrears proceedings by local social landlord that would have seen Cliftonwood man lose his flat are 'off the table for now', ACORN says

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning