Fatal fire care home manager fined for fire safety breach



The manager of a care home that was the scene of a fatal fire has been found guilty of a fire safety breach.

Karen Sykes, 41, from Sale, pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court on 18th March following the fire at Oldfield Bank Residential Care Home. She was fined £500 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15. The charge was for breach of article 23 of the Fire Safety Order - a failure to take care of herself and other relevant persons.

The court heard how a fire broke out in May 2010 at the care home in Altrincham, where Ms Sykes was duty manager.

A fire alarm sounded around 6 pm, but was silenced by Ms Sykes. At this time, there had not been a thorough search of the site to locate the reason for the alarm.

A fire was later discovered in room 25 and an emergency call made at 7.15 pm. When crews from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service arrived at the scene, they found the fire alarm set to ‘silent’ mode.

Elderly resident Enid West died following the fire and an inquest into her death is scheduled to be heard by the Stockport Coroner in April.

Previously, fire alarm engineer Christopher Morris, who was responsible for the fire alarm system on the site, was convicted for fire safety breaches.

Mr Morris, 56, of Llandudno, a former retained firefighter, appeared at Manchester Crown Court last year and was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 costs. He pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to maintain a fire detection and alarm system. 


Assistant county fire officer, 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."