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Wembley care home fined £57,000 over fatal fire

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A care home in Wembley has been fined £57,000 after a resident died following a fire in his room.

London Fire Brigade said the home, which is operated by Lee Valley Care Services, had been warned about safety failings prior to the fire which led to the death of a resident.

Following a visit to the home in November 2015, fire inspecting officers raised concerns around fire doors, fire safety management and a lack of a proper fire risk assessment at the home.

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A ‘Notice of Fire Safety Deficiencies’ was issued and managers were given until May 2016 to address the issues.

Terence Roberts died after a fire in his room during the notice period in March 2016. An audit by fire safety officers following the fire found no evidence the home had been working on the issues raised.

Lee Valley Care Services pleaded guilty to four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, including: failing to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment; failing to update the fire risk assessment in light of a change of circumstances when smoking habits of a resident changed; failing to monitor and reviewing fire safety arrangements; and failure to follow emergency procedures in the event of danger.

Westminster Magistrates Court heard that Mr Roberts had been smoking in his room before the fire. He was discovered in the smoke room by staff and sadly died six weeks later in hospital.

Dan Daly, the Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, said: “It is a terrible tragedy that vital fire safety warnings were not addressed more quickly in this case.  Our thoughts remain with the family of Terence Roberts.

“Smoking is one of the top causes of fatal fires among people who receive care and it’s vital that care homes and their staff can spot the danger signs associated with smoking, follow vital precautions to ensure vulnerable people are kept safe and detail how they have addressed the specific risks to residents in their Fire Risk Assessment.”

Mr Daly said Lee Valley Care Services had “radically improved its fire safety record” in inspections following the incident involving Mr Roberts, adding the home, which is rated ‘good’ in all categories by the CQC, exceeds industry standards, having installed sprinklers.

Lee Valley Care Services was contacted by CHP for comment.

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