Fire Safety Blunder Risks Lives of Residents Living in ‘Death Trap’ Flats in Southampton

The importance of thorough fire risk assessment procedure was highlighted recently in Southampton when an unclear report left residents at risk. Fire safety in multi-occupancy buildings is a task which should be undertaken by an individual with competence and experience, such as our expert assessors at FireCare. Failure to properly record and mitigate the risk of fire in a fire risk assessment could lead to severe damage, loss of property and in the worst case scenario, loss of lives.

Earlier this year, an inspection uncovered that Cranleigh House in Westwood Road, Southampton, was littered with fire safety defects that had not been addressed in a fire risk assessment. The building was described by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service as a “death trap”, with hazards including holes in walls between flats and lack of insulation, both of which could have encouraged a fire to spread quickly. The inspection also found that the fire alarm system was compromised.

In the fire risk assessment, Charles Morgan, 46, from a local fire consulting firm, used the word ‘unseen’ throughout his report, instead of completing a more detailed examination which is legally required to help prevent the risk of fire and protect the building’s occupants.

Klentiana Mahmutaj, prosecuting on behalf of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said that dangers and potential risks were ignored, creating a “huge source of potential risk”.

“It was a death trap which luckily did not materialise in this case,” Mahmutaj continued.

“It was an incompetent fire risk assessment that was fundamentally flawed. It failed to provide a safe fire safety audit and protect the inhabitants.”

As a result of this misconduct, Morgan was sentenced to a 3-month jail term sentence for each offence, and was fined £2,750 with £19,952 costs. The fire safety company was also fined £20,000 with £19,952 costs.

Occurrences such as these truly highlight the importance of a thorough fire risk assessment, especially in multi-occupancy buildings such as flats, offices, and hotels. To get the most from a fire risk assessment, it is important that it is completed by someone with the appropriate knowledge and experience, such as one of our trained assessors. By identifying the areas of your property which are most at risk and implementing the resulting recommendations and action points, you can have peace of mind that you have taken the appropriate and compliant steps to safeguard your property, assets, and people.

About FireCare

At FireCare, we provide pragmatic, comprehensive fire safety, security and electrical services to businesses throughout Hampshire, Dorset, Surrey and London.  To book your complementary compliance audit, call our friendly team today on 023 8026 9833, or email