A 66 year old man living in a care home in Horely was left smoking unattended when his pyjamas caught fire. Barnfield Care Home, Horely, which is run by Anchor Trust has been ordered to pay £210,000 over the death of the elderly gentleman.
Gorgon Boxhall was in his wheel chair when he became engulfed in flames. He had previously been bathed in a paraffin based cream for a skin condition and shortly after lit a cigarette which ignited him pyjamas.
Anchor Trust pleaded guilty to three breaches of fire safety regulation in a prosecution brought by Surrey County Council and were ordered to pay £210,000 in fines and costs.
The judge who passed the sentence commented “Better supervision should have been employed – but it wasn’t”
Anchor Trust had not provided their staff with adequate fire safety training, did not have a suitable fire risk assessment conducted on the premises, and failed to take sufficient protective measured regarding smoking.
The gentleman suffered 80% burns and his clothes had all burned away. His daughter had arrived to visit her father and witnessed the immediate aftermath, collapsing as she saw him.
The paraffin-based cream for his skin condition had soaked into his pyjamas causing it to instants ignite as the cigarette touched. Fire proof smoking aprons are now available to the residents and there are now alternatives to paraffin-based creams.
Had the staff been correctly fire safety trained this awful tragedy may have been avoided.
The Care Home is now under new management and have ensured lessons have been learnt. All staff have had extensive fire training and the fire risk assessment is now up to date.
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