Fire damage case study

Fire damage, a lesson to learn from!

When the occupier of flat 30 left his home one afternoon in early October 2019, leaving his dog alone in the flat, little did he know that the day would end in a tragic disaster for him. His top floor flat is one of eight studio flats in a two storey building. Later the same afternoon at around 5pm, his neighbour noticed smoke in the communal area of the building. It was discovered that a fire had broken out in flat 30 and was burning with great ferocity entering the roof space above the flat. Fortunately, the residents of the building were all evacuated safely but, sadly the dog perished in the blaze.

Once the fire had been extinguished, the flat was examined by the Fire Brigade and Forensic Investigators who had been instructed on behalf of Insurers. And, although the results were inconclusive, the suspected cause was either faulty electrics or poorly discarded smoking materials (the resident was a smoker).

The damage inside the flat was so severe it was impossible to tell if any of the electrical appliances had caused the fire, some of them were so badly damaged that no plug or fuse could be found in the debris.

The entire roof of the building has to be replaced, rendering all eight flats uninhabitable. Repairs are still ongoing, overseen by Crawford our licenced loss adjusters, and the residents are not expected to be back in their homes until July 2020. The claim will be in excess of £400,000 which will include alternative accommodation arrangements for all of the flat occupiers.

This case is a warning that fires start from the simplest of things and a timely reminder that even small risk improvements can reduce damage and even save lives. In this case, several lives have been impacted by the disruption of the fire which could have been prevented. 

There are a few steps that can be taken by property owners and residents to reduce the risk of fire:

Installation of smoke detectors, which are checked regularly – this can allow a fire to be caught earlier and hopefully limit damage

  • Periodic checks to electrical appliances and their cords
  • Do not overload electrical sockets
  • Correctly dispose of all smoking materials
  • Arrange regular cleaning of chimney flues
  • Installation of  fire extinguisher in communal areas

So, be vigilant and ensure your property owner clients are fully covered for all risks and take a moment to advise them of the small things they can, and should, do to mitigate the risk of fire. It could save a business, a building or lives.




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