Firefighters have put out a blaze started at a derelict hospital in Somerset, in what is thought to have been a deliberate attack.
The former Butleigh Hospital building, situated near Street, caught alight in the early hours of yesterday (February 6th) morning and left fire safety officers and others working to put it out for several hours. Several calls were made to the local fire service at just after 01:00 GMT, prompting a response from both Street and Glastonbury brigades. However, after seeing the roof was well alight, an additional two fire engines from Castle Cary and Wells were sent to the scene.
Indeed, the severity meant an Incident Command Unit was also sent from Wiveliscombe, before another two fire units arrived from Wells and Birdgwater to suppress the fire. The conflagration spread from the ground floor, to the first storey and the roof and therefore took a couple of hours to get under control. At around 04:00 GMT, a more thorough investigation took place with fire crews checking for hotspots. Following this, an external search of the premises was carried out and the response scaled down to three fire appliances.
Speaking at 05:20 GMT - four hours after the fire started - Devon and Somerset Fire Rescue Service said: "This derelict property of three storeys was used as a former hospital measuring approximately 60 metres by 30 metres."The fire has been contained to the west wing of the premises, roughly 25 per cent, which has been destroyed on all three storeys and the roof. Crews used four jets, an aerial appliance and working from height with a 135 ladder to extinguish the fire. The cause of the fire is deliberate."
Non-domestic premises in England and Wales must have a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
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.
A huge inferno was tackled by firefighters in Glasgow city centre on Sunday morning (February 3rd), taking nearly four hours to get under control.
Some 100 firefighters and fire safety officers attended the scene in Dixon Street after a former bedding shop went up in flames at 01.50 GMT. Crews from Calton, Polmadie and Maryhill Community Fire Stations were the first on the scene and quickly found access to the inside of the building to help tackle the top-floor fire. However, because of the rapid spread of the blaze, additional resources from across Glasgow and Lanarkshire were called to the three-storey building. According to Strathclyde Fire and Rescue (SFR), the task of containing the conflagration was made trickier by the high winds hitting the city in the early hours of Sunday morning. The job was made even more difficult after the roof collapsed at around 04.40 GMT - nearly three hours after the blaze started. Just over half-an-hour later, the fire was contained - with the help of aerial rescue pumps - before it was later put out. Fire crews used thermal imaging devices to ensure no pockets of fire remained in the building.05 Feb 2013
The importance of a safe and secure building is paramount, irrespective of whether it is somebody's flat or the world's biggest skyscraper. Indeed, UK fire law is continually reassessed to ensure owners or managers of these buildings are doing all they can to prevent or reduce the threat of a blaze from breaking out. While these measures are in place, it is then up to those in charge of a building to implement changes, such as a fire risk assessment or fire alarm installation, so that those occupying it are properly protected.
Which is why after a series of hotel fires in the south-west, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue has decided to do more to make sure more people understand fire regulations in place in the UK. The authority will be hosting several events - aimed at owners of guesthouses and hotels - next month with the aim of doing just that. "We want to give these business owners the information they need to comply with legislation," Bideford station manager Graham Rooke told the North Devon Gazette. "We'll also show them the effects of fire; how devastating it can be and how quickly it can spread. The events are free and so far we have about 200 people booked into them but we would like to spread the word and get as many as possible to attend." Fire safety officers in the area have witnessed several serious conflagrations over the last few years, costing lives and ending businesses.
The news provider reports that Tantons, a hotel in Bideford, was fined £40,000 by Exeter Crown Court because of a breach of fire regulations. Mr Rooke and his team hope to eliminate the chances of this happening again through their roadshows. But it's not just in Devon. Last October, the Hull Daily Mail reported that the Gilson Hotel in Feren was forced to shut after local safety inspectors found it was in breach of laws. It revealed that fire alarms were not working and exits were obstructed, posing a huge threat to those staying and working in the building.
Owners of all commercial properties in England and Wales must carry out a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The Responsible Person can face up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine if they fail to comply with the legislation. As part of this, the government has already published a fire risk assessment guide on sleeping accommodation, designed to provide a Responsible Person with further guidance on fire precautions. On the subject of fire alarms, the guide says that control and indicating equipment should be tested every 24 hours, while fire-warning systems should be tested once a week.
A fire that ripped through an Italian restaurant in Brighton on Saturday (January 19th) night has left its owner "devastated".
Pinnochio, situated in New Road, had to be evacuated after a blaze started in the ground-floor kitchen and is unlikely to open again in the near future. The Argus reports that nobody was injured in the incident after 40 firefighters and fire safety officers attended the scene. While the blaze was put out, extensive damage occurred to the kitchen, the basement and the roof. An investigation into what caused the conflagration is now underway. East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said that it took more than three hours to put the fire out as ten fire engines attended the scene, adding that it was a "tricky one to deal with".
The owner of the scarred Pinocchio restaurant and Donatello in The Lanes, told the news provider that the aim is now to get the restaurant open again as quickly as possible. "Obviously we are devastated by what has happened but at the end of the day the most important thing is that nobody was hurt or injured," she noted.
Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, owners of commercial properties in England and Wales, including restaurants and hotels, must carry out a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment to identify potential hazards and ensure appropriate safety measures. If the assessment is deemed not to be 'suitable and sufficient' the Responsible Person can face up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine.