Care Home Fire- “Action Needed” says Coroner

Action is needed to prevent future deaths after two elderly women were killed in a care home blaze, a coroner said.

Two residents died when a fire broke out at a Care home in Cheshunt when they died in a devastating fire in the early hours of April 8, 2017. The fire travelled through voids in the roof and quickly engulfed the entire building.

An inquest jury ruled last week that the residents died in an accidental fire that was contributed to by inadequate compartmentation in the care home’s roof space.

In a report, senior coroner for Hertfordshire Geoffrey Sullivan warned there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken.

The report, which has been sent to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, the coroner said that a number of witnesses “expressed concern that sprinkler systems are not a mandatory requirement for care homes such as Newgrange, in which many residents have either limited or no independent mobility”.

During the inquest, Paul MacDonald, the-then Group Commander from Herts Fire and Rescue Service, was of the view that had there been sprinklers in each room the two victims would likely have survived.

The coroner added: “I also heard evidence that care homes such as Newgrange, despite their residents having either limited or no independent mobility, do not fall under the national definition of ‘Higher Risk Buildings’.

“I heard that if a building is classified in this way, it brings about greater consultation with fire authorities and building control regarding its design, management and construction and implications for the Responsible Person and how the Fire Risk Assessment is conducted.”

 

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