Judge blasts former owner of care home where six pensioners were trapped in a blaze

Runcorn and Widnes World: Rangemoor Care Home Rangemoor Care Home

THE former owner of a nursing home where six vulnerable pensioners were trapped in a blaze has escaped jail after admitting breaches in fire safety.

Richard Dickinson, aged 67, of Denbigh Court in Runcorn, admitted three counts of breaching a fire safety order and was given a 12 month suspended prison sentence The charges followed a serious blaze at the Rangemore Nursing Home on Chester Road, Knutsford, in October 2010, when six elderly residents had to be rescued from the first floor.

A fire investigation revealed major shortfalls in fire safety and led to the prosecution.

Speaking after the sentencing, Keith Brooks, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s head of community fire protection, said: “The fire at Rangemore Care Home could, without doubt, have ended in tragedy if it had not been for the actions of the fire crews who attended that night.

“We welcome the sentence handed out by the court as this was a serious breach of fire safety regulations which are designed to prevent this kind of event and protect life.”

Dickinson was sentenced to a 12 months prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. He will also have to pay £68,362.05.

The case was heard at Chester Crown Court on December 13.

Judge Elgin Edwards praised the actions of the fire service in averting what could have been a ‘major tragedy’.

He also highlighted the need for the owners and managers of homes for vulnerable people to ensure that they ensure they have the necessary fire safety measures in place.

The judge said: “People who run these establishments must ensure that they scrupulously adhere to fire safety regulations in an establishment with vulnerable people.”

Dickinson had his registration cancelled after enforcement action was taken by health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission in March, 2012.

In December, 2011, inspectors discovered the home failed to meet nine of the essential standards people are legally entitled to expect.

Rangemoor now has a new owner and operates under a different trading name.

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