The safety of elderly residents at a care home in Croydon was put at risk as members of staff failed to adhere to fire safety regulations.
Inspectors said they found “truly shocking” conditions* at Morven House, Kenley, when an investigation was carried out in February 2013, including obstructed fire exits and an out-of-date fire risk assessment, (*Croydon Advertiser)
Officials also identified an inadequate fire detection system that put the lives of employees and residents under threat.
The care home, which was looking after 17 elderly people with dementia and disabilities at the time the breaches were reported, was fined £70,000. It was originally investigated after the Care Quality Commission raised concerns about conditions at the establishment.
Charges against the facility were handed over to Croydon Crown Court in April this year, after being handed over by Magistrates.
It was revealed at the time that director Shanmugasundaram Surendram faced penalties for as many as seven enforcement notices handed over by the London Fire Brigade in February 2013.
Among the breaches were a lack of preventative and protective measures to reduce the fire risk, while there was no emergency route or exit that would enable residents to evacuate the building safely.
During a court appearance on May 27th, the company pleaded guilty to five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order at Croydon Crown Court. It was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay full court costs of £23,488.
Rita Dexter, deputy commissioner at London Fire Brigade, said: “Protecting London’s most vulnerable residents is our priority.
“Families entrust the care of their loved ones to homes such as this one and to find people being put at risk from fire in this way, in places where they should be safe, is truly shocking.”
The ruling comes after London Fire Brigade released figures revealing there were ten fires every week in the capital’s care homes, while one third of those who died in accidental blazes in the city last year were receiving care.
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison