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Council fined £30,000 over fire deaths,full report

There is anger tonight from relatives of four firefighters who were killed in a warehouse fire five years ago. They're unhappy with a judge's comments that failings by Warwickshire fire service did not cause the deaths.

The judge fined Warwickshire County Council £30,000 for health and safety breaches. But family members say as far as they're concerned, the fire service has "blood on its hands" and has escaped more severe punishment.

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'Council has reformed risk management after fire deaths'

Mr Justice MacDuff at Stafford Crown Court has said:

The Defendant [Warwickshire County Council] has reformed its risk management systems and training and equipment I am entirely satisfied that there has been full rectification of these matters.

The nearest water supplies were unknown to those who attended the Atherstone fire.

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Judge: 'Unfortunate justice has been so delayed'

The Honourable Mr Justice MacDuff at Stafford Crown Court has said:

It is unfortunate that justice in this case has been so delayed.

The Defendant pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

This was a fire within a building. What was reported was a single pallet fire. The first obvious step was to try and put the fire out provided it could be safely done.

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Council to be sentenced over deaths of four firefighters

Warwickshire County Council is to be sentenced for health and safety breaches linked to a warehouse fire which claimed the lives of four firefighters.

The local authority pleaded guilty in January this year to a charge brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act following an inquiry into the fire in Atherstone-on-Stour in 2007.

The Judge sitting at Stafford Crown Court has issued his opening remarks, saying; "The relatives have taken a close interest in this case I have read the impact statement. I understand the anguish at the loss of men who had their lives ahead of them.

"Men who went fearlessly into the fire in what was considered to be a routine fire at the time I have the most enormous sympathy. I know family members will understand my task.

"It is unusual for a judge to sentence a corporate body. There is no defendant to look in the eye."

Warwickshire County Council due for sentencing

Fire at a warehouse on an industrial estate in Atherstone On Stour, Warwickshire. Saturday November 3, 2007 Credit: PA

Warwickshire County Council is due to be sentenced later over the deaths of four firefighters.

The men died in a fire at a warehouse in Atherstone on Stour in 2007.

The council has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety legislation.

Earlier this year three senior fire officers were cleared of manslaughter by gross negligence.

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