Fatal flat fire prompts fresh new-build sprinklers call

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has repeated calls for changes to building regulations that would see sprinkler systems in all newly-built homes.

The move comes following the death of 63-year-old Susan Walker, who was fatally injured when a fire tore through her home in Gough Side, Burton, on November 18.

Ms Walker, who was wheelchair bound and severely disabled, suffered horrific burns and dieds in hospital the following day.

An investigation into how the fire started revealed it was due to a discarded cigarette in the bedroom.

Deputy chief fire officer Chris Enness told the Mail that Ms Walker’s death was ‘another tragic incident that highlights the need for domestic sprinklers’.

He said: “We urge the people of Staffordshire to push this issue with their local councillors and MPs.

“Wales has already introduced legislation which will see all new-build domestic properties fitted with sprinklers as standard, and it’s time England followed suit.

“Independent research proves what we have been campaigning for over a number of years now — that sprinklers can be cost effective.

“To not action the report findings would be negligent. We will continue encouraging the Government to lead with these changes.

“By simply changing the guidance that supports the current legislation there is the potential for hundreds, if not thousands, of lives to be saved in the future.

“Time is of the essence. The latest census revealed the population aged over 65 has increased by more than 10 per cent.

“In recent years we have seen a decline in fatal fires; however, this could all change because of the increasing numbers of elderly people who are unfortunately more vulnerable to fire.

“Our crews and fire service staff across the country do a fantastic job in promoting fire safety and helping their local communities to be safer.

“Evidence from around the world shows, however, that if we’re to reduce the number of fire deaths and injuries even further we need to take the next step and think about sprinklers more seriously as a solution.”

Burton Mail

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