After the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower, residents of a Sutton high rise say they are living in fear of similar devastation.

Balaam House, in Collingwood road, was newly clad in April 2013 with Sutton Council hailing the new cladding system “the first of its type in the country being used for social housing”.

But following the terrifying events in Kensington, Balaam House residents have told Sutton Guardian of their concerns.

They told us the cladding - which the council has taken a sample of for testing - is just one of several issues.

“It’s a ticking time bomb regardless of the cladding,” said one resident.

Kelly Ann Julian, 40, who has lived at Balaam House for 15 years, went into the lift to sound the help alarm.

After several attempts, she shouted 'hello' through the speaker, but no voice on the other end offered support.

A broken, cracked CCTV camera stared down.

“The lift is constantly shutting off,” said one resident.

Rhonda Scott, 45, who has also lived at Balaam House for 15 years, told me the residents faced “four major issues”.

She said: “Number one, we want some cladding taken off by the fire brigade, set it alight to show us what happens.”

She also noted that they wanted fire access at the rear of a building and sprinklers fitted.

At the back of the building, a children’s playground sits just yards opposite beside a group of steel bins.

The gap between building and playground is narrow which the residents believe makes it impossible for a fire engine to come through to rescue a burning block and the people within.

Kelly then spoke of the time she had a heart attack last year.

Because of the lack of space for an ambulance, after two cars were illegally parked at the rear, she said she had to be carried out to the road.

When her mother passed away, she said the body was taken across the side of the building as the hearse couldn’t park any closer.

“It’s like we are animals,” said Kelly.

Balcony windows are locked. The residents don’t have access to the keys.

That was Rhonda’s third point.

She added: “Point four is that if London Fire Service is saying their ladders only go up four floors and their hoses only reach seven then what will we do if there’s a fire?

“Call 999, say I’m on the 15th floor and get a response of ‘sorry darling our ladders won’t get up there’”.

One mother told us: “Nothing will guarantee my safety. I have no hope in hell of getting down those stairs with my kids. My children are scared to death.”

Jack Garrett-lines, along with his eight-month pregnant partner Hayley Lewis and their son Ryan have lived on floor six since 2011.

“My son is almost seven, he has autism and is severely short-sighted,” he began.

“A Sutton Housing Partnership medical expert said the child shouldn’t be higher than the third floor but somehow we are not on the priority list to move.”

Back outside, as residents discussed their fears, a man in a wheelchair was returning to Balaam House.

Rhonda pointed him out.

The resident, who lives on the 12th floor, told us: "I've been here four and a half years and I never wanted to be put up so high with my illness. I've been looking to move for six months."

According to the man, Sutton Housing Partnership has now placed him on a priority list to move since the Grenfell Tower Fire.

He wheeled away from the back of the building, around to the side through a carpark to get to the front entrance, as there is no ramp for him to access the rear entrance.

"This whole building should be a priority to move out," said Kelly. "I would prefer to be in a caravan as long as I'm not in that block."

A Sutton Council spokesman told us the council intends to install a fire sprinkler system.

The spokesman added: “A plan has been put in place to log details of vulnerable people living in high-rise buildings, so assistance can be provided in the event that an emergency evacuation is required.

“Pieces of cladding will be removed and tested imminently. A newsletter is being hand delivered to residents at Balaam and Chaucer Houses informing them of this and other details on fire safety.”

The council has since removed samples of cladding for testing.

In a notice to residents, Sutton Housing Partnership said it set up a dedicated Fire Safety Project Team and is undertaking an 'immediate independent review of fire safety in its high rise blocks'.

The notice said the partnership did not intend to wait for inquiry findings or new regulations to trigger any works required. It said regular inspections will continue with the London Fire Brigade as well as additional inspections 'scheduled in the coming week'.

The note said it was offering additional smoke detectors to residents, issuing safety advice and visiting both Balaam House and Chaucer House daily for three weeks to talk to residents.

A London Fire Brigade (LFB) spokesperson said: “To ensure the seat of the fire is attacked as quickly as possible, high rise fires are usually fought from within the building itself by firefighters who reach the scene by using ‘firefighting lifts’ or protected internal stairwells.

"They then charge firefighting hoses from dry or wet rising mains - water mains that run the full height of the building.

“Rescues from fires in high rise premises are almost always undertaken by firefighters working within the building."

They added that ladders "with a greater height than our current aeiral appliances do exist" but they "carry more weight and are so often impractical in a city like London" with its narrow streets, roads and traffic congestion.