As previously mentioned in our blog about the importance of fire safety, Southwark Council pleaded guilty at a hearing in February to all four counts brought by the London Fire Brigade. They were guilty of:
- Failure to carry out risk assessments
- Failure to take precautions to prevent fire spreading and protect escape means
- Failure to take fire precautions to protect employees and non-employees
- Failure to ensure the building had a suitable system of maintenance
One observation made after the fire was that a timber staircase which cut across general use corridors were weakly boxed in and provided negligible protection and seriously compromised the escape route. Also missing were fireproof strips or seals on the doors and suspended ceilings did not have cavity barriers.
How tragic that a thorough assessment by a company like http://www.cardinus.com would have exposed these failings and enabled the council to take necessary preventative action.
In the end the fire was caused by a piece of electrical equipment and spread up the outside of the building into a flat above and out into the corridor. Burning debris fell onto several floors below, starting separate fires.
6 deaths a £270 000 fine, and £300 000 court costs later, will we in this business learn!