SERIOUS fire safety deficiencies left elderly residents of a specialist care home at real risk of injury or death.

Marsden House, at Whitchurch, near Ross-on-Wye is now under an enforcement notice.

The privately owned home can take residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

The notice explains that a fire officer found “serious fire safety deficiencies creating risk of death or serious injury in the event of fire”.

Owner Graham Fillery said the home was working with a fire consultant who, in turn, was liaising with the fire service to implement the work required by the enforcement notice. Final plans are expected to be agreed in the near future.

“The areas raised by the fire officer are not structural and we expect to have complied with the requirements well within the timescale,” said Mr Fillery.

“I wish to reassure anyone who is either a resident, or has a relative at Marsden House, that we have taken immediate steps to ensure their continued safety is maintained and that their safety continues to be our paramount concern.”

Some of the requirements represent a development of existing practice that will affect all care homes, such as a need to train all staff to be “firefighters”.

Other requirements relate to confirming information such as the type of fire alarm system appropriate for the premises.

Fire safety in force

About 150 fire safety inspections have been carried out across the county this year including Hereford County Hospital which – as revealed by the Hereford Times last week – was served with an enforcement notice to meet fire safety standards.

The County Hospital and Marsden House are among only seven business or public premises under either enforcement or prohibition notices as a result of those inspections.

The others – including a hotel, a pub, a takeway bar, a shop and a house converted to a care flat – all require varying degrees of work or compliance either soon to be underway or close to completion.

Station commander Neil Pigott, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service fire safety officer for Herefordshire, said the tally was not too bad for a county with many working buildings that were hundreds of years old.

Dangerous sleeping accommodation was the biggest concern uncovered by the inspections with deliberate or repeated negligence rare, he said.