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Have you suffered a fire at your property?

An alarm company has been found to be negligent over a fire which devastated Weston-super-Mare's pier pavilion in July 2008.

The judge at Bristol Mercantile Court found a high degree of negligence from security firm System 2 Security, which has since gone into administration. The pier's owners have been awarded a £30m interim payment and the pier has now opened again.

The details of the case

  • Although the fire alarm had gone off at 1:35am, the fire brigade was not called until almost 7am
  • The pier's owners had a contract for the monitoring of this fire alarm, with System 2 Security. They had subcontracted this to an Essex-based company, Yeoman Monitoring Ltd.
  • Although Yeoman Monitoring Ltd made an out of court settlement with the pier's owners, this was a "great deal less" than the £39,376,453 lost due to the fire.
  • Days before the trial, S2S presented a petition to wind the company up.

The outcome

His Honour Judge Mark Havelock-Allan QC granted Judgment in favour of Grand Pier Ltd (the pier's owners) against S2S, for damages for breach of contract and negligence.

He said there were at least two key breaches:

1. Not insisting that the pier owners provide the name and contact details of more than one key-holder.

2. Failing to warn the new owners that the fire alarm system had been subjected to filtering, whilst a previous fault was fixed. He added that he considered it "more probably that S2S had forgotten to reverse the filtering instruction, after the alarm had been repaired".

If you have experienced a fire at your premises, as the result of dealings with a contractor, you may have a case to bring for negligence. For more information, or to discuss this, please contact James Murray in Wards Solicitors' Weston-super-Mare office.