Care home company fined for fire safety offences following blaze

GCH (Burrow House) Ltd, which runs Burrows House care home, was sentenced for three offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 following the successful prosecution by London Fire Brigade. At an earlier hearing the company had pleaded guilty to not having a fire risk assessment, blocking a fire escape route with combustible materials and wedging fire doors open, and failing to keep firefighting equipment in working order.

The fire, which broke out on the evening of 14 October 2013, was caused after an electrically operated armchair left in a corridor caught alight. Although the fire was contained to a first floor wing of the home, one resident, who was rescued by fire crews, was taken to hospital suffering from severe smoke inhalation. Put on a life support machine, she spent more than a month in hospital before being released. Two other residents were taken to hospital following the fire and a number of others were treated at the scene.

Following the fire, the Brigade's fire safety inspecting officers visited the care home and raised a number of concerns. One of the most serious being the failure to keep the corridor clear of combustible materials such as furniture. According to Brigade inspectors, this had prevented the corridor being used as an escape route, resulting in the serious injury of one of the residents and putting the lives of other residents at risk.

Dan Daly, London Fire Brigade's Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety said, “This was a very serious fire which nearly saw someone lose their life. Protecting London's most vulnerable residents is our priority. Families entrust the care of their loved ones to places such as this, and to find people being put at risk from fires in places where they should be safe in this way is totally unacceptable. Building owners and care home managers have a clear responsibility under fire safety laws to ensure that people living in their premises are safe from the risk of fire.”

The Brigade attends around ten fires a week in housing where care is provided and is campaigning for better fire safety in care homes and sheltered accommodation.

GCH (Burrow House) Ltd, were fined £10,000 for each offence under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and ordered to pay the Brigade full court costs of £12,966 - a total of £42,966.

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