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UK Fire Safety News

Landlord Guilty of Eight Fire Safety Offences

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A pub landlord has pleaded guilty to eight fire safety offences after failing to understand he had become responsible for fire safety after his lease changed. Appearing at Manchester City Magistrates' Court on July 3rd, Robert Vincent Ashton, of Swinton, was given an 18-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £500 towards Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service's (GMFRS) costs for the offences.

The case was brought against Mr Ashton, the owner of the Duke of York pub in Eccles, Salford, after an investigation revealed several fire safety failings. These included faulty fire alarms, lack of adequate fire resistance between floors, unacceptable fire escapes and failure to carry out a fire risk assessment.Upon sentencing Mr Ashton, magistrates took into account that he did not understand that he was responsible for fire safety after singing a new lease in 2008.

Assistant chief officer Peter O'Reilly, director of prevention and protection at GMFRS, said: "The decision of the magistrates recognises that Ashton did not seek to put profit over safety but rather failed to understand his responsibilities."I hope that this case will encourage people setting up or entering businesses to ensure they research their legal responsibilities. Anyone entering into a lease arrangement must ensure they fully understand their obligations and the legal implications.”

London Maisonette Fire - Spaghetti Can

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A fire which damaged a north London maisonette was probably caused by a toaster being used to heat a tin of spaghetti. Two men escaped the fire in Upper Holloway, on Monday night, said a spokesperson for London Fire Brigade. It appears that the two men had wedged the toaster on and were cooking a tin of spaghetti on top of it.

Four fire engines and about 20 firefighters attended the blaze.

Shirley Towers Inquest - Death by Misadventure

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The jury at the inquest into the deaths of two firefighters in a Southampton tower block has returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

Jim Shears, of Poole, Dorset, and Alan Bannon, of Southampton, died inside flat 72 of Shirley Towers in 2010.

The finding was delivered in conjunction with a narrative verdict which noted the pair died as a result of exposure to excessive heat.The coroner said he would be making recommendations on safety improvement.The verdict went on to record that operating conditions for all firefighters involved in tackling the fire became extremely difficult and dangerous and this significantly contributed to the deaths of the men. Coroner Keith Wiseman said he would be making written recommendations in the coming weeks.

The inquest at Southampton Civic Centre has lasted four weeks.During the hearing the court heard the fire on 6 April 2010, in a ninth-floor flat of the 15-storey block, started after a resident left a curtain resting on a lamp.Karl Hoffman, who lived in the flat, told jurors he had tried to put out the fire with a cup of water and a bottle of soft drink before a neighbour dialled 999.

Homeless Shelter Fire in Jersey

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Up to 22 people had to flee a homeless shelter in St Helier after a fire broke out in one of the bedrooms.

Lewis Street in St Helier was cordoned off and all occupants safely left the building while firefighters tackled the incident. A spokesperson for Jersey's Fire Service said crews used equipment to get rid of the smoke so the building could be re-opened. He said the staff reacted well with one attempting to extinguish the fire. He said: "The outcome was very good in that everyone can sleep in the building this evening." He said Jersey's Fire Service was investigating the cause of fire but no one was hurt.

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Church Hall Fire in Preston

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A church hall fire that broke out yesterday in Preston is being treated as suspicious by the police.

According to the Lancashire Evening Post, police are considering the fire at St Joseph's Parish Centre in Ribbleton as a potential arson attack, after discovering the back door had been broken. The fire caused extensive damage to the building on Tuesday morning and it took firefighters five hours to get the blaze under control.

A spokesperson for the fire service said that firefighters were forced to break some windows so oxygen could enter the building, in order to reduce the risk to their lives when entering.The church has been empty for several years, however property owners with vacant buildings are advised to conduct regular inspections and ensure that an appropriate fire risk assessment has been carried out so they are covered in the event of a fire.

Major Fire Strada Restaurant Bury St Edmunds

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Around 25 firefighters from across Suffolk continue to tackle the fire at The Strada Restaurant, Bury St Edmunds.

The fire, which was reported to Suffolk Fire and Rescue at just before 9pm last night, started in the cellar of the five storey building and quickly spread to other parts of the premises. The building, which was built in the 1600's and grade one listed had only recently reopened as a restaurant following refurbishment.Once the fire had taken hold there was significant structural collapse to the rear of the premises.

The now unsupported front facade of the building has buckled and is in an unsafe position resulting in the area close to the building being cordoned off.Due to the swift action of Strada staff, the 120 people inside the restaurant at the time the fire was detected had all been evacuated swiftly and safely by the time firefighters arrived.At the height of the fire 14 fire appliance and two high reach ariel appliance (around 80 fire fighters) from across the county were on scene.

Around 25 firefighters and 4 fire appliances continue to tackling the fire and it is anticipated that the Fire and Rescue Service will remain at the scene throughout the night and into the early part of next week, in order to protect neighbouring properties and to put out deep seated pockets of fire in the collapsed structure.Work is already underway with St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Strada, the owner of the building and neighbouring businesses to deal with the longer term consequences of the fire.