FORMER residents of an Irvine tower block being asked to appear in a BBC documentary about Grenfell Tower.

Almost 20 years after a fire ripped through Garnock Court in Irvine, people who lived there at the time are now being asked to contact the BBC to potentially appear in a documentary about the tragic London tower block blaze.

Journalist Liam O’Hare said the Garnock Court fire is one of three tower block fires in the UK that is being looked at in the programme in relation to the shocking blaze that ripped through Grenfell Tower in London in June last year, killing 71 people.

Now BBC executives are looking for victims and former residents of the Irvine tower blaze to get in touch about their experience from 1999.

Liam told the Times: “We will be looking at three major fires in blocks of flats which occurred in the UK. One of those is the fire at Garnock Court in Irvine.

“We are very interested to speak to anyone involved or anyone wh o remembers the fire.

“Obviously there are striking similarities between what happened at Grenfell and what happened at Garnock Court.

“We are going to be looking at those and also at what lessons can be learned and have been learned since those fires.

“If anyone at all remembers anything it would be great if they could get in touch.”

The blaze ripped through the 14-storey Garnock Court on Friday, June 11, 1999.

The fire started at about 12.45pm and ended up destroying flats on nine floors of the Irvine tower block.

A 55-year-old man died in the fire and five other people, including a 15-month-old child, were injured.

Witnesses reported that a vertical ribbon of cladding on one corner of the block was quickly ablaze and the fire reached the 12th floor within 10 minutes of it starting. 

The flats were owned by North Ayrshire Council, who ordered the removal of plastic cladding and PVC window frames as a precaution “at whatever cost” so they could be replaced with safer materials.

At the time then MP, Brian Donohoe, said he was concerned that towe r blocks across the UK which used similar cladding to Garnock Court could be at risk, and the Labour MP pushed for a parliamentary inquiry into the extent of the problem.

The review - by the select committee on environment, transport and regional affairs - was set up quickly and reported back in January 2000.

However it concluded that the evidence receive d during the inquiry suggested most external cladding being used in the UK did not pose “a serious threat to life or property in the even t of fire”.

However the Irvine fire led directly to building regulations being revised. By 2005 a law was passed in Scotland which meant that all cladding that was used in high-rise dwellings had to be non-combustible.