Fire safety breaches at Derbyshire care home

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The owners of a care home for the mentally disabled have been found to be in breach of numerous fire safety regulations following a blaze.

Midshires Healthcare Limited, which owns the care home in Church Street, Riddings, was sentenced for four breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at Derby Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday, February 19).

On May 29, 2013, firefighters were called to attend a fire at premises on Church Street, Riddings. Upon arrival, all residents were out of the property and the firefighters entered the building wearing breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze, which had started on the first floor in one of the resident’s bedrooms.

Upon inspection of the care home, firefighters found several possible breaches of fire safety regulations. Fire doors were wedged open, self- closing door devices had been removed or were ineffective, some fire doors were ill fitting and combustible furnishings were blocking escape routes.

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service area manager Steve McLernon said: “If the fire had occurred a few hours later when the residents were asleep, the outcome could have been much worse.

“The means of escape were obstructed with furniture, some fire doors were damaged or ineffective and the escape lighting and fire alarm were not maintained. Investigations revealed that the care homes’ fire risk assessment had not been reviewed since May 5, 2012, which would have probably identified the deficiencies and the measures required to make the premises safe from fire.”

Care Homes in Derbyshire are inspected for fire safety compliance by Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service working in conjunction with the Care Quality Commission.

Mr McLernon added: “Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind all care providers of their legal responsibility to protect their residents against the risk of fire.

“This case serves as a stark warning that the fire service will consider action against anyone found to be in breach of fire safety regulations and where they fail to comply with any statutory notices issued.

“The service will advise and give support to both local and national businesses and are always willing to help make sure they comply with fire safety legislation. However, the public should continue to be reassured that legal action will be used when necessary, where any serious breaches of Fire Safety Regulations are identified.”

Midshires Healthcare Limited, based in Croyden, was fined £4,000 per offence - totalling £16,000 - and ordered to pay costs of £11,477 and a victim surcharge of £120.00.