New probe into 2011 Kirkby fire

31 Jan 2013

A new investigation is set to be launched into a fire at a Merseyside factory back in 2011, after an admission of liability by the factory's owners.

Sonae Industria, which owned the Sonae chipboard site in Kirkby, admitted to a breach of duty but said any compensation claims would have to go through the courts.

Thousands of local residents say their health was affected by the fumes from the blaze that continued for eight days, BBC News reported.

It is believed around 10,000 people are weighing up legal action, with each claimant required to supply proof they suffered damage to their health as a result of the incident if they are to stand a chance of winning their case.

Colin Billing, joint managing director of law firm Camps of Birkhead, told the news provider that Sonae's statement is a good first step.

Camps of Birkhead is representing 4,500 people relating to the fire in question, which took place in 2011, although a subsequent blaze happened at the site in January 2012 and the factory ceased production in September.

Under the terms of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment is required to be carried out on all commercial properties in England and Wales.

The potential penalty faced by the Responsible Person is an unlimited fine or a prison sentence of up to two years if they fail to comply with the legislation.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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