County’s coroner calls for change of law on fire alarms

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Weeks after the life of a Horsham woman was saved by her smoke alarm, West Sussex Coroner Penelope Schofield has called for a change in the law to force private landlords to install hard-wired devices in all rental homes.

Earlier this month West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said a fire alarm saved a 64-year-old Horsham woman’s life, when a fire broke out at her home in Millmeads and in June, a man from Horsham was saved by his smoke alarm giving him warning.

But in other parts of the county Ms Schofield has had to reside over three cases, where a working smoke alarm could have prevented death.

In the inquest of Trevor Barwick of Selsey Ms Schofield said: “I’m horrified we are here again, faced with the death of a vulnerable person who died in a rented property.”

She then wrote to the Government for the third time in two years calling on MPs to act to make hard-wired alarms in retal properties a legal requirment.

Her call has been supported by the Fire Industry Association.