Anger over Leeds Marsden House student halls’ fire exit ‘tied shut’

image copyrightRyan Gleeson image captionThe fire exit at Marsden House in Leeds was secured with

A fire exit with wire wrapped around the gate

image copyrightRyan Gleeson

image captionThe fire exit at Marsden House in Leeds was secured with cable ties “to keep out non-resident students”, a student claims

The parent of a Leeds university student said he was “furious” that a fire exit at his son’s accommodation had been tied shut with cable ties.

Marsden House on Burley Road, Leeds, is home to about 900 students.

Ryan Gleeson, whose step-son is studying at Leeds Beckett University, posted a photo of the secured gate at the halls and alerted the fire service.

IQ Student, which manages the building, said it was investigating and student safety was its “highest priority”.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had “resolved the issue” after attending the site on Monday.

IQ Student said the gate was “one of several escape routes from the building and is 2m away from an escape route through reception, which is staffed around the clock”.

But students say the gate is also the main point of entry and exit to the halls.

Mr Gleeson’s step-son, who wishes to remain anonymous, said it had been secured shut “all day every day” for four days before the ties were removed.

image copyrightRyan Gleeson

image captionThe adjoining turnstiles had also been blocked to stop people getting in and out, the student said

He claimed he had witnessed security guards securing the gate to keep non-residents from entering the building.

“It doesn’t make us feel very safe when we’re paying so much money to be here. It seems like we’re paying for our own house arrest,” he said.

Mr Gleeson, from Blackpool, said: “I was furious. Absolutely livid that a halls of residence where people are in party mode and will undoubtedly be drinking are put in a greater risk of not being able to find a means of escape from a building and to a point of ultimate safety.

“I understand during fresher’s week students are not entirely blameless in creating a situation but this is an absolutely dangerous way to try and resolve it.”

The fire service said blocking a fire exit was illegal, dangerous, “reckless and puts lives at risk”.

A spokeswoman said IQ Student confirmed “they did not secure the exit” and it was working with the company “to ensure this does not happen again and to identify the individual(s) responsible for securing the exit closed”.

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Related Topics

  • Students

  • University of Leeds
  • Leeds

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