care home fire
Care Home Fined £80,000 + £20,000
A care home was fined £80,000 and ordered
to pay costs of £20,000 under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order
2005, following a boiler room fire in January 2007.
Last September, the owner of Norfolk House in Weybridge
pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety)
Order at Staines Magistrates Court, but the magistrates referred the case to
Guildford Crown Court for sentencing last month.
The investigation by Surrey fire & rescue service determined that the fire
started as a result of accumulated rubbish and storage in the boiler room.
They also found that staff were not instructed in the findings of the fire
risk assessment, which had identified the boiler room as a high risk area
and should not be used for storage. Additionally, the care home did not have
an adequate system for implementing and reviewing the fire safety
arrangements on the premises, and by so doing, placing staff and the people
who were in their care at increased risk.
“This case clearly demonstrates how our fire safety officers are
successfully inspecting relevant buildings and applying the law to help
ensure the safety of our community,” said Gavin Watts, Surrey’s assistant
chief fire officer. “Surrey Fire and Rescue Service works closely with
businesses to help them with their compliance duties under the Regulatory
Reform (Fire Safety) Order, but where their responsibilities are not taken
seriously, the service will absolutely consider prosecution – particularly
in cases such as this when
vulnerable people may be affected by a company’s shortfalls”.