Station Hill fire: Reading MP calls for investigation

Construction workers are currently building apartments and offices in Station Hill, with a fire breaking out on site yesterday (Thursday, November 23).

It follows another fire which tore through the site earlier in the summer.

Matt Rodda, the Labour MP for Reading East, has called on Sarah Albon, the chief executive of the  Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to investigate the site.

In a letter, Mr Rodda said: “I am writing to ask if the HSE could investigate the management of health and safety at a major construction site in Reading, following a serious fire at the site.

“As you may have seen, there was a large fire at Station Hill in Reading town centre yesterday (23 November 2023).

“Workers at this site were injured and some had a very lucky escape, with one worker being hoisted away from the top of a tower block seconds before he was about to be engulfed in smoke and flames.

“At least two workers were taken to hospital.”

Dramatic footage showed a crane operator successfully being able to save a co-worker from the fire.

READ MORE: Video shows worker rescued from burning building in Reading

It is not the first time that the development has been hit by a fire, with a previous incident occurring on site on Friday, July 7.

In his letter, Mr Rodda said: “This serious incident is not the first one at this building site. I understand that this is the second fire to have broken out in the last five months.

“I am concerned, therefore, that there may be a more widespread failure of health and safety at the site.

“I hope you will be able to investigate these incidents. I look forward to hearing from you.”

At the time of the fire, a spokesperson for the Station Hill development stated that people living in apartments opened earlier this year had been evacuated.

The spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a fire took place on the Station Hill construction site.

“We activated our fire emergency plans immediately, the emergency services were. The safety of those on site and the wider public is always our first priority and the site was evacuated as a result.”

The fire comes as the Station Hil developers celebrated two topping out ceremonies for residential apartments in March and the huge One Station Hill office building in September.

HSE previously conducted an investigation following a scaffolding collapse on August 1, 2019.

Three workers were injured in that incident.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre