Operators of Doncaster care home 'disappointed' after court issues fine for fire safety breach

The Old Rectory in Doncaster.
The Old Rectory in Doncaster.

The operators of a Doncaster care home have expressed their 'disappointment' after they were fined for breaching fire safety regulations.

The Old Rectory Nursing Home (Doncaster) Limited, which runs the Old Rectory Nursing Home in Armthorpe, pleaded guilty to a breach of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at Doncaster Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.

The company was fined £3, 500 and ordered to pay £13, 325 prosecution costs.

Following the case, company bosses have spoken out to criticise the fire authority for pursing a prosecution as they had been working with them to upgrade fire safety systems before the court case.

A spokesperson for the firm said: "Although the home did have a fire risk assessment in place at the time, which had been prepared for us by independent fire safety consultants, the fire authority determined that it was not suitable and sufficient.

"After liaising extensively with them, and after investing in additional fire safety measures, they were satisfied that we had done enough.

"We were therefore disappointed that they took the decision to prosecute us, particularly as the safety and wellbeing of our residents has always been our top priority."

The case heard how inspecting officers from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s business fire safety team found the 37 bedroom care home did not have a suitable or sufficient fire risk assessment in place.

This included provisions for the time in which staff at the home would be able to evacuate its residents in the event of a fire.

After the hearing, Amy Jenkinson, business fire safety manager for the brigade, said: “All businesses must ensure that they have a suitable and sufficient risk assessment in place, which should include having effective evacuation strategies.

"Staff must also receive adequate safety training so they know what to do should they have to evacuate the premises. Fire safety is a key part of business management.

“South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue business fire safety officers will continue to take action when businesses, large or small, do not take their fire safety responsibilities seriously and place residents, staff or the public at risk. Failure to comply with the law can, as this case has shown, result in a prosecution.”