The dangers of obstructing fire exits were again highlighted last week after firefighters were called out to a blaze in the stairwell of a block of flats in Leicestershire.
One woman was checked over by paramedics because of smoke inhalation after the incident last Thursday (January 31st) in Rutland Street, Melton, but residents had a lucky escape. The Leicester Mercury reveals that while initial reports suggested the block of flats - with four people and a dog - was on fire, the conflagration was actually consigned to a stairwell. Upon arrival, fire crews found that a sofa had been dumped in front of the fire exit and had caught alight - forcing four firefighters to enter wearing breathing equipment. Residents were also asked to remain in their flats while the blaze was tackled.
Communal areas in these types of buildings require a fire risk assessment under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and to act on any of the hazards identified. Failure to do so can lead to an unlimited fine or a prison sentence of up to two years for the Responsible Person.
For further information on fire risk assessments click here.