Fire door warning following fatal tower block blaze

Grant Prior 1 year ago
Share

Housing manager Lewisham Homes has been fined £40,000 for breaking fire safety laws following a fatal blaze in a Deptford tower block in which two women died.

fire
Security door: This image shows the steel security door fitted to the flat where the fire started (image ©London Fire Brigade)

Lewisham Homes were sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to failing to properly maintain fire doors and failing to review an existing fire risk assessment.

Sentencing the housing manager, His Honour Judge Justice Christopher Hehir said the prosecution should act as a “wake up call” to the risks of not maintaining fire safety features in residential high rise buildings.

He also stated that had Lewisham Homes been a profit making company and not a not-for-profit organisation the fine would have been considerably higher.

Lewisham Homes is an Arms Length Management Organisation, which manages a significant proportion of the housing stock owned by the London Borough of Lewisham.

The prosecution was brought by the London Fire Brigade following the blaze in February 2011.

More than 100 firefighters were called to the fire at Marine Tower on Abinger Grove in Deptford which started in a flat on the 16th floor.

Crews rescued two women from another flat on the same floor but  both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The fire was started deliberately and in 2012 Sandra Clarke, a resident in the flats, was prosecuted and convicted of two counts of manslaughter at Woolwich Crown Court.

An investigation by fire safety officers revealed serious safety failings relating to the failure to maintain fire doors, which directly contributed to the spread of the fire.

The flat in which the fire started was fitted with a metal security door which prevented  the existing fire door behind it from being closed.

The severity of the fire and the lack of protection between the flat where the fire started and the building’s communal areas meant fire and smoke rapidly entered the lobby and also the adjacent flat in which the two women who died were trapped.

Speaking after the sentencing Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Neil Orbell said: “Living in a high rise building is not more dangerous than living in a house but this tragic incident is a stark reminder of the potentially lethal consequences of failing to maintain the vital safety features, such as fire doors, which are built into them to give you protection from fire.

“Sadly in the case of Marine Tower, this life saving engineering was not maintained, causing fire and smoke to spread rapidly into the lobby area and ultimately into a flat where two women, trapped by the fire, tragically died.

“I absolutely agree with the Judge. This prosecution should act as a ‘wake up call’ and send an urgent message to all housing providers to ensure the fire safety features in their buildings are properly maintained.



“If they are not, housing providers, managers, landlords and building owners should all be warned that we will not hesitate to prosecute if we find they are putting people’s lives at risk.”

Latest news

Firms sentenced after four killed in site excavation tragedy

Companies fined £700,000 after disaster in Norfolk
3 days ago

BAM books in £35.5m refurb deal at listed castle

Studley Castle will become hotel owned by Butlin's group
2 days ago

Carillion plans job losses as rail spending cuts bite

Union vows to fight against redundancies as renewal spending falls
3 days ago

Ardmac wins fit-out deal at Kirkstall Forge

Work to start next month on new offices for vehicle leasing specialist
2 days ago

McLaren lands £38m Brighton College sports and science centre

Contractor bags third major deal in five years with college
3 days ago

CITB to sell awarding body

Cskills Awards to have new owners
3 days ago

Balfour to close seven offices in Scotland

All operations north of the border to be directed from one new main office
3 days ago

Cemex drivers call off strike plans

Fear of disruption to site materials deliveries subsides as pay deal struck
3 days ago

Nine firms win places on £225m modular framework

Fusion 21 picks winners for education authorities to use
4 days ago

Winners revealed for LHC modular buildings deal

Big week for offsite as another major framework agreed
4 days ago

Helical bullish about London office market

Developer focuses on London, Manchester and logistics sites
4 days ago

Tarmac poaches director from FM Conway

Surfacing boss Toby Pyper to join Tarmac next month
3 days ago

Private rented sector fund raises £250m

Investors pile-in to new PRS fund looking for stakes in new schemes across the country
4 days ago

Race starts for first £15m Brent Cross infrastructure deal

Roads and utilities work to pave way for £1.4bn shopping centre revamp
4 days ago

Developers scale down plans for Wylfa nuclear plant

Number of construction workers needed falls to 8,500 from 10,000
5 days ago

Facebook snub prompts refurb rethink on Oxford Street

Great Portland Estates considers more extensive revamp at Oxford House
4 days ago

McLaren lands deal to fit-out new home of the FT

Newspaper staff will have a running track on the roof of New Bracken House
5 days ago

Skanska appoints new head of building business

Katy Dowding promoted as contractor unveils management reshuffle
5 days ago

Bid race begins for £20m mega car park

Port of Southampton plans largest car storage facility yet
5 days ago

MVS Group lands mechanical deal at new Spurs stadium

Midlands specialist boosts turnover and opens new North West office
5 days ago

BAM wins £20m Sheffield school

Mercia secondary school will open late next year
5 days ago

Sparks down tools on Skanska Crossrail sites

Electricians "cabin-up" in row over bonus pay and union recognition
6 days ago

Renew pulls out of low pressure gas mains work

Forefront Utilities business to focus on medium pressure replacement schemes
6 days ago

Wonky crane gets Multiplex out of a tight fix

Ingenious crane design at London's tallest tower site
6 days ago

200 Quadrant Construction staff face restructure

L&Q to close Quadrant Construction brand in big shake-up of development activities
6 days ago

Construction to start on £100m Bath resi scheme

Investment fund buys former Bath Press site
6 days ago

Three bosses jailed after fatal roof fall

Court hears how safety measures were ignored to save money
7 days ago

Property firm merges with main contractor

Wigley Building and Development will target projects up to £12m
6 days ago

Go Interiors acquires cladding specialist FGF

Deal creates £65m distribution business
6 days ago

Revamp of world’s first factory trials novel procurement

Derby Silk Mill project to test integrated project insurance
7 days ago

Contractor services