A CARE home manager who was in charge when a fire alarm was silenced during a blaze has been convicted of a safety breach
Karen Sykes, 41, of Brooklands Road, Sale, appeared before Manchester Crown Court under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 following the fire at Oldfield Bank Residential Care Home in Highgate Road, Altrincham.
The court heard how fire broke out in May 2009 when Sykes was duty manager. The fire alarm went off at about 6pm, the alarm was silenced but Sykes failed to ensure that a proper search of the premises was carried out.
A fire was later discovered in room 25 and a 999 call was made at about 7.15pm. The alarm was discovered in ‘silence’ mode when crew from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service arrived to tackle the blaze.
Elderly resident Beryl West died following the fire and an inquest into her death is scheduled to be heard by Stockport Coroner in April.
In sentencing Sykes, who was fined £500 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15, Judge Justice Lakin said: “My duty is clear. I have to apply the law. As the manager of the care home it was Sykes responsibility for the fire alarm and evacuation.”
Previously fire alarm engineer Christopher Morris, 56, of Llandudno, North Wales, has already been sentenced in relation to the same incident and was ordered to pay £5000, with £6000 being awarded to the Authority.
Assistant County Fire Officer from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Peter O’Reilly said: “This case clearly highlights and enforces the message that employees have a duty to ensure the safety of the people they are looking after. This type of behaviour simply isn’t acceptable and we should not forget that an elderly resident in Sykes care died that night.
“This is the first time an employee has been prosecuted under this legislation, as opposed to the employer, and I am proud of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue for bringing this about.”