150 elderly residents evacuated after a fire started in the roof space of the 3-storey care home.

On Thursday August 8th, the Beechmere Care home in Crewe set alight after a fire broke out of the roof space and quickly spread across the building.

The ‘stay-put’ policy which was in place for fire emergencies was quickly overturned due to the speed of the fire; this meant that residents evacuated the premises immediately rather than executing a phased evacuation. Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gus O’Rourke said that doing this saved lives.

An investigation has been launched to identify the cause of fire; in particular how it spread so quickly. Cheshire Fire and Rescue have stated it doesn’t appear to be a deliberate event.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue’s Head of Protection Lee Shears said: “It is clearly still very early days in our investigation, but what we do know is that the fire started in the roof area and spread rapidly. It appears, at this stage, to not have been a deliberate act.”

There are fire regulations by HM Government¹ in place for the containment of a roof space; the regulations state that any roof space greater than 20m² (no more than 20 metres between fire stopping walls) must be compartmentalised with fire resistant materials (cavity barrier) resistant to greater than 30 minutes.

It has been announced that the care home had no sprinkler system in place. By having a sprinkler system, there would have been more chance of the fire being contained.

Following the Care Home fire, Laura Smith, the Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich is calling for premises containing vulnerable people to have as a minimum a sprinkler system, she said, “Residents want to know and I want to know why vulnerable people were in a building so largely made out of timber… and without any sprinklers.”

¹HM Government Building Regulations, 2010. Approved Document B. Amended 2018.

Pictures from Cheshire Fire and Rescue

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