Six firms face charges over Beechmere care home blaze in Crewe

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Six companies are being prosecuted for alleged failures to comply with fire safety laws, following the huge blaze that destroyed Beechmere retirement village in Crewe.

And their first court appearance will be exactly four years to the day of the fire back on August 8 2019.

The incident was one of the biggest ever attended by Cheshire Fire Service with 70 firefighters deployed at its height to bring the fire under control.

More than 150 residents lost their homes and possessions and while no one was injured, the fire had a huge impact on many people’s lives.

Since 2019 the service has investigated the cause of the fire and potential breaches of fire safety legislation.

A service spokesperson said: “This has been a long and complex process owing to the scale of the fire and the number of parties involved in designing, building, maintaining and managing the building.”

Now the service has confirmed it is bringing charges against six companies for failing to comply with the Fire Safety (Regulatory Reform) Order 2005.

They will appear at Warrington Magistrates Court on Tuesday August 8. The companies facing charges are:

Avantage (Cheshire) Ltd. Contracted to procure the design, build, finance and operate the village. Avantage is a subsidiary of Your Housing Ltd.

Your Housing Ltd. Employed staff at Beechmere and as such was the ‘responsible person’ for fire safety measures as defined by Article 3(a) of the Fire Safety (Regulatory Reform) Order 2005.

Morgan Sindall Property Services Ltd. The facilities management subcontractor to Avantage, with responsibility for responsive repairs and cyclical maintenance.

WSP UK Ltd. Contracted to produce a detailed fire strategy in 2007 and in 2008 produce an operational fire safety manual and carry out a fire risk assessment of Beechmere.

Total Fire Group Ltd. Contracted to carry out fire risk assessments in August 2017 and August 2018 at both Beechmere and Hazelmere retirement villages.

MAC Roofing and Contractors Ltd. Contracted by Morgan Sindall Property Services Ltd. to undertake roofing works at Beechmere between 6 and 8 August 2019.

Crewe & Nantwich MP Kieran Mullan has welcomed the investigation, and said: “I am glad the investigation into the tragic events at the Beechmere Retirement Complex is finally moving forward.

“I know many residents and their families have been very frustrated at the long wait to get the answers that they deserve.

“They still don’t have those answers, but we have now taken a major step forward.

“Whilst I did ask Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service to meet with residents, they were limited in what they could say at the time.

“Given the number of organisations named today, it was obviously a complex investigation.

“We must now let the justice system run its course. I am sure throughout this process there will be difficult moments for former residents and their families.

“We know sadly some residents have passed away since the fire. As well as ensuring where necessary there is accountability for what happened, this trial can also help ensure that lessons are learned so that nothing like this ever happens again.”

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has set up a dedicated information hub on its website, where full details of the charges against the companies can be found:

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Beechmere aftermath

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