April 2016

A care group has been sentenced and fined £380,000 following five breaches of fire safety at a care home in Washington. A fire broke out at the care home on 13th September 2014 which saw a bedroom destroyed and severe smoke damage to other bedrooms and a laundry room.

During the fire, smoke and heat was able to quickly spread through the care home due to fire doors being wedged open and a delay in identifying where the fire started meant staff were unable to evacuate an elderly lady. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the building through a first floor window and successfully rescued the lady. She was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, for treatment.

As well as the £380,000 fine the care group also have to pay costs of £29,222 at Newcastle Crown Court, after the company admitted five serious fire safety failings at a hearing the previous month. These failings included wedged open fire doors, a number of failed actions that were identified in their fire risk assessment and just under half of the company’s fire extinguishers were condemned.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Community Safety Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The breaches found at this care home put the lives of residents and staff at risk.

“We have around five thousand interactions with businesses annually, where we work to educate and inform them of their responsibilities to comply with the law. This means that there is seldom the need for prosecution. However, where lives are put at risk and the law has been broken we will not hesitate to prosecute.

“This fine imposed by the judge is one of the most significant we are aware of for a case of this kind. It should serve as a warning to businesses, and especially care home operators, that failure to carry out their responsibilities regarding fire safety can and will have serious consequences.”

 

Source: www.shponline.co.uk

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