Coroner rules on safety failures including the fire door closer as cause of tragic death

sophie rosser
23 year old Architect Sophie Rosser died from burns in the Royal London Hospital after entering a blazing block of flats in an ill-fated attempt to save her boyfriend, who she feared was trapped inside. Coroner Mary Hassell criticised a catalogue of fire safety failures at the apartment block, but ruled the 23-year-old’s death was an accident. The fatal blaze was sparked by a damp towel being left on a wall light in a fourth floor flat at Meridian Place on the Isle of Dogs, east London, in the early hours of August 26 2012. The coroner hit out at a string of failures in the fire safety of the block of flats – which she said was partly to blame for the tragedy. She said the fire quickly spread because the apartment’s self-closing fire door was damaged and got stuck on the floor, and that Miss Rosser’s death could have been avoided if the self-closing fire door was functioning as it should have been. “The fire brigade came quickly. The fire door was a good one and it would have kept the fire back.” She added: “The one thing that would have made the world of difference, other than the fire not being started in the first place, is if the door to flat 101 (where the fire broke out) had been closed.” Doorstuff technical department wonders if rather than the fire door closer, the fire door hinges had failed in this case, causing the door to drop and therefore catch on the floor. Whatever had happened, this terrible event underlines the importance of maintaining fire doors and their associated hardware.

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