Warwickshire County Council has been fined a total of £30,000 after being found guilty of health and safety breaches which led to a huge warehouse fire which killed four fire fighters. The fire fighters died as they were fighting the blaze as the roof of the warehouse collapsed on top of them.
This was the biggest death toll for British fire fighters at work ever since seven fire fighting personnel were killed while battling a blaze in Glasgow in 1972. The warehouse fire raged on for over five hours and at its peak the flames were reaching hundreds of feet high.
According to the sentencing remarks of Mr. Justice MacDuff at the Stafford Crown Court, the council had been deficient in their record-keeping and the information that they had provided to fire crews during the tragedy which took place in November of 2007. The judge called the deaths a dreadful accident which were a result of a series of failures on the part of the Warwickshire council. The council had pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to ensure that health and safety of its employees, the fire fighters of the county.
It was found that the County Council fire authority was guilty of failing to provide adequate building risk information and details regarding the location of water supplies to the crews. It also was found that there had been serious deficiencies in record-keeping in regards to health and safety training of fire personnel. These failures in health and safety resulted in the dangerous decision to send the fire fighters into the blaze, even though the situation was too dangerous.
According to Richard Matthews, the prosecution barrister, the men had been sent into the evacuated warehouse needlessly. He said that if the blaze had been properly assessed it would have been apparent that sending in the fire fighters without the proper resources was dangerous and unnecessary. The council was found guilty of breaches in health and safety which led to the death of these fire fighters, as well as a devastating loss to their family and to the community.
The NEBOSH Fire Certificate is a recognised fire safety qualification which will help you to prevent fires in your workplace.