Forfar flat residents fear safety is once again being put at risk in blocks where a potential fire tragedy was averted a couple of years ago.
Security doors are being jammed open and a trials bike was chained to a stair in one block in a move a couple say could put lives in danger if a blaze breaks out.
Long-time Lordburn resident Gordon Archibald said: “We notified the council about the concern with a trial bike being padlocked in a stairwell.
“The whole block would be endangered if it were to go on fire.
“There was a similar incident in a block in the street and the council had to evacuate the whole building and completely gut and refurbish it.
“The cost would have been considerable.
“Tenancy agreements state stairwells should not be blocked.”
Mr Archibald lives in another block close to the scene of the terrifying fire in August 2019.
Rubbish and plastic bicycles piled at the entrance to the four-storey building were thought to have accidentally caught fire.
Frightened residents were wakened by the sound of a loud bang as the stairwell fire took hold in the early morning incident.
Frantic neighbours were forced back by flames and smoke, with one climbing on the ledge of a first floor window to help rescue a woman, three children and a dog from a first-floor flat.
A teenage girl was taken to hospital after inhaling smoke from the blaze.
The fire happened after one resident said complaints about rubbish building up in stairwells were ignored by the local authority.
A housing officer visited the block on Wednesday and the bike owner is understood to have been advised about rules aimed at keeping stairwells and common areas clear.
But Mr Archibald said complaints to the council about security doors being left open had not been dealt with.
He added: “We have had a problem with tenants wedging the security door open.
“That leaves the block unsecure – totally defeating the purpose of a security door. Again, nothing was done.
“Surely safety and security should be a priority of the council and not something to be ignored?”
His partner, Alison Baptie, added: “Apart from an acknowledgement that they had received the email there has been nothing to say that anything was being done about it.”
Council reinforce safety message
An Angus Council spokesperson said the authority was aware of the motorbike issue and had taken action accordingly.
They reinforced the message around fire safety in council housing.
The spokesperson said: “Common parts of any shared premises are particularly vulnerable if rubbish is allowed to build up in stairwells.
“We’re asking all council tenants to promote fire safety in and around blocks of flats.
“We take the issue of fire safety very seriously and want to ensure tenants and their families are as safe as possible from the dangers of smoke and fire.
“We inspect our blocks of flats on a regular basis to identify and report any issues for priority repair – we will take action against anyone who endangers the safety of occupants of blocks by dumping rubbish in stairwells.”
The situation of items building up inside block has not escalated during the pandemic.
But council chiefs say there has been a rise in the amount of rubbish and items stored outside their properties.
A new Special Waste Action Team (SWAT) has been set up to tackle the problem.
The quick response team was put in place earlier this summer to target issues including fly-tipping, littering, dead animals and the disposal of bulky waste.