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More than five years since deaths of four firefighters

Darren Yates-Badley and Ashley Stephens died in the blaze. Credit: PA

It has been more than five years since four firefighters were killed in a warehouse blaze in Atherstone-on-Stour, Warwickshire.

Darren Yates-Badley, Ashley Stephens and John Averis died during the blaze while Ian Reid died in hospital after being pulled from the wreckage.

Ian Reid died later in hospital while John Averis was found dead at the warehouse. Credit: PA

Their deaths represent the greatest loss of life among British firefighters in a single incident for 30 years.

Two senior fire officers, Timothy Woodward, 51, and Adrian Ashley, 45, were found not guilty of manslaughter over the incident in May 2012 while Paul Simmons was ordered to be acquitted by a judge.

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Row over investigation into deaths of four fire fighters from Warwickshire

A row has broken out over an investigation into the deaths of four fire fighters from Warwickshire. The men died in a warehouse fire in 2007 but yesterday their bosses were cleared of manslaughter.

The detective who dealt with the case told Central Tonight that the investigation was hampered by a union representing the fire service.

Families of firefighters killed in a fire five years ago talk about their loss.

Fay Yates Badley the widow of Darren Yates Badley talks at a news conference held at Warwickshire Police headquarters this morning.

The four firemen died when they were sent into a burning building in Atherstone on Stour in 2007.

Yesterday their three bosses were cleared of their manslaughter by gross negligence.

Fire officers acquitted of manslaughter in fire trial

Three senior fire officers have been cleared of the manslaughter by gross negligence of four of their colleagues who died after being sent in to fight a fire five years ago.

The prosecution said the senior officers - who were in charge of the fire fighting operation - shouldn't have sent the men in because there was no one inside the building to be saved.

Warwickshire Police has criticised the fire service for not being helpful enough during the investigation. The fire service has denied this and is now writing to the home office demanding an investigation into why the three men were charged.

Fire officers read a statement outside court

Tim Woodward (centre) and Adrian Ashley (right) were acquitted of their charges with gross negligence manslaughter in February last year following a criminal inquiry into the deaths of four fire fighters

A third defendant, Paul Simmons (left), was acquitted of manslaughter on the directions of the judge part-way through the trial.

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Detective says more co-operation was needed from fire service

Detective Superintendent Ken Lawrence, the officer in charge of the Atherstone-on-Stour fire investigation, said the force had to jump though hoops to get to witnesses.

Two fire officers, Adrian Ashley and Tim Woodward, were today acquitted of manslaughter by gross negligence in the trial into the deaths of four of their colleagues who died at a warehouse blaze in 2007.

Warwickshire Fire call for Home Office investigation

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Chief Fire Officers Association are calling for a formal investigation into why Warwickshire fire fighters Timothy Woodward and Adrian Ashley were prosecuted for alleged manslaughter.

The decision follows the acquittal of the fire officers who faced four counts of manslaughter following the deaths of four of their colleagues at a warehouse fire in Atherstone-on-Stour, Warwickshire in 2007.

“I am very pleased that the case against our three Incident Commanders has socomprehensively collapsed. I expected nothing less. It is now clear that these cases should never have been brought to court. I am relieved that their ordeal is over but I also feel a sense of sorrow and remembrance for the four brave fire fighters who died at Atherstone-on-Stour in 2007. We will now be seeking assurances from ministers that prosecutions like this never happen again.”

– Graeme Smith, Chief Fire Officer for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service
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