FIRE chiefs have raised concerns over the safety of cladding in almost 500 Pennyburn homes after a blaze ripped through a pensioner’s home last month.

In documents seen by the Times fire officers say that the blaze at Kelburne Square last month saw fire “travelling beyond reasonable expectation within inner materials”.

The blaze was allegedly started deliberately after bins and a mattress were left at the side of the house and were set alight.

The flames licked up the side of the house before taking hold of the roof cladding which bubbled and fell off in giant lumps.

Following the blaze Councillor Donald Reid took to Facebook to relieve the fears of Pennyburn residents saying: “It is important to note that the building fabric did exactly as it is designed and did not promote the fire in any way.”

However fire chiefs say there were “absolutely no fire breaks or systems to contain fire-spread to smaller areas”.

Documents also state that the cement and roughcast became so loose it could result in 3/4 of a tonne “coming down without warning at any time”.

The documents add: “The squares are made up of terraces of seven dwellings each, it is reasonable to expect if this had been the face, front or rear of any dwelling that there may be the potential for lateral fire spread affecting more than one dwelling.”

However Councillor Donald Reid refuted the SFRS’s findings and says, according to NAC’s Building Standards the cladding is safe.

He said: “I’m happy to take the advice of Building Standards and the Scottish Government who are saying it meets standards and performed as would be expected.

“There’s been enough Pennyburn fires of late and there’s enough concern. Folk are feeling scared to be in their houses and they should not be.”

According to SFRS there are 480 house in the Squares which were fitted with new cladding around eight years ago.

Cllr Reid claims Irvine Housing Association (IHA), who are the social landlord for the non-privately owned homes in the Squares - carried out the cladding.

However Heather Anderson, Head of Services at Irvine Housing Association, said they do not own the house which caught fire and they carried out cladding on most houses, but not that one.

She said: “We are aware of the fire that occurred at Kelburne Square on November 23. While this property is not owned by Irvine Housing Association and the external wall insulation works were not carried out by us, we have installed similar external wall insulation to properties across the Pennyburn estate, so we have been notified of the arson attack by the Fire and Rescue Service. Investigations are ongoing and we are currently waiting for a copy of the Fire Incident report. The details of the report, and any mitigating actions arising from this, will be discussed fully at a meeting with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and North Ayrshire Council.”

Cllr Reid said IHA has agreed already to introduce a caretaker for the area to oversee the tidiness of Pennyburn and “act as a contact to pursue all of these aspects which have been ongoing”, following a problem with flytipping.

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We are currently looking into this matter and will be meeting colleagues from Irvine Housing Association and Scottish Fire and Rescue in the near future.”

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Regulation of building materials and techniques lies with Building Standards and the local authority, and is not a legislative responsibility of the SFRS.

“The safety of our communities and firefighters is paramount, and that is why we continually train and prepare to respond effectively to a range of different type of incidents. “