Fire safety cam­paign launched af­ter death in care home blaze


Sunderland Echo - - News - by Poppy Kennedy Twit­ter: @re­porter­poppy

A blaze which re­sulted in the death of a 39-year-old man has led to a doorstep drive to pro­mote fire safety.

Pa­tryk Mor­timer died fol­low­ing a fire at the for­mer Manor House Care Home, in Eas­ing­ton Lane, in the early hours of Satur­day morn­ing.

Two men have been re­leased un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter be­ing ques­tioned on sus­pi­cion of mur­der.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cause of the fire con­tin­ues as po­lice of­fi­cers are ap­peal­ing for in­for­ma­tion to help piece to­geth­er­what hap­pened in the lead-up to the tragedy.

Yesterday, the Sun­der­land Echo ac­com­pa­nied fire pre­ven­tion and ed­u­ca­tion teams as they fit­ted and tested smoke alarms and pro­vided life-sav­ing safety ad­vice to res­i­dents in Eas­ing­ton Lane.

Kevin Burns, sta­tion man­ager at Tyne and Wear Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice said: “This is some­thing we do af­ter we have an in­ci­dent where we think its worth fol­low­ing it up, we will go out in the com­mu­nity.

“We’ll go and con­duct home safety checks, part of that is fit­ting of smoke alarms, giv­ing fire safety ad­vice to res­i­dents to keep them safe from fire and pre­vent­ing them from hav­ing a fire.

“It’s im­por­tant as a fire and res­cue ser­vice we get out in the com­mu­nity and we give ad­vice to keep peo­ple safe from fire, pro­vide them with that de­tec­tion which will give them early in­di­ca­tion there’s some­thing wrong.” More than 30 mem­bers of staff and three Tyne and Wear Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice vol­un­teers took part in the op­er­a­tion which saw four fire en­gines and nu­mer­ous pre­ven­tion teams head to the com­mu­nity sur­round­ing the scene of the tragic fire. Com­mu­nity fire­fighter Gwen Adams-Clark, said: “What’s hap­pened today is what is called a hot strike, so be­cause we’ve had a nasty fire, all de­part­ments come to­gether - so pre­ven­tion/ ed­u­ca­tion, fire safety, the crews, ev­ery­body just de­scends and sat­u­rates the whole area and gives as much ad­vice as pos­si­ble. “Thank­fully this sort of thing doesn’t hap­pen very often.” Gwen, along with vol­un­teer John Pate, fit­ted smoke alarms in two prop­er­ties in Eas­ing­ton Lane.

Yvonne Dick­son, 67, and Keith Walton, 70, had new smoke alarms fit­ted af­ter the bat­ter­ies on their old alarms had ran out.

Keith said: “They were work­ing but the bat­ter­ies weren’t last­ing and it was drain­ing them too quickly.

“It’s a job done that saves me do­ing in the fu­ture.”

An­other res­i­dent, who asked not to be named, said: “I’ve often thought about get­ting a smoke alarm but I’ve never both­ered so them com­ing today has been a god­send.

“It’s a lit­tle bit of back up which is re­as­sur­ing.”

Teams vis­ited houses in Eas­ing­ton Lane that they don’t have pre­vi­ous in­for­ma­tion or records for and will re­turn at a later date to speak to house­hold­ers who weren’t in.

John Pate, 72, is a vol­un­teer with the ser­vice and has now com­pleted 580 hours of ser­vice.

He said: “What I get out of this is what you’ve just seen, a house with no alarms work­ing, and my pay­ment is mak­ing that house safe.

“You’re get­ting some­thing good out of it and the com­mu­nity is get­ting some­thing good out of it.”

“My pay­ment is mak­ing that house safe” JOHN PATE

Fire­fighter Andy Fa­hey, watch man­ager Andy Smith and fire­fighter Bob Foster

Fire ed­u­ca­tion with John Pate and Gwen Adams-Clark

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