England

Atherstone-on-Stour trial: Fire doors 'not fitted' at warehouse

Clockwise from top left: Ashley Stephens, Darren Yates-Badley, Ian Reid, John Averis
Image caption Three of the firemen died in the vegetable packing plant warehouse fire while the fourth died in hospital

Fire doors were not fitted at a warehouse where four firefighters died in a blaze, a court heard.

Warwickshire fire service managers Timothy Woodward, 51, Paul Simmons, 50, and Adrian Ashley, 45, have denied manslaughter by gross negligence.

Ashley Stephens, 20, John Averis, 27, and Darren Yates-Badley, 24, died in the 2007 fire in Atherstone-on-Stour. Ian Reid, 44, died later in hospital.

The prosecution has finished its opening at Stafford Crown Court.

It claimed the three fire service managers failed to assess the risks properly, failed to review the way they tackled the fire and also failed to withdraw the breathing apparatus teams when it was obvious the situation was deteriorating.

It was, the Crown alleged, a gross departure of standards expected from a reasonably competent commander.

The fire started at a vegetable packing plant in Atherstone Industrial Estate, on the site of a disused airfield, in the early evening of 2 November.

Mr Woodward is a station manager from Leamington while Mr Simmons, from Hampton Magna, and Mr Ashley, from Nuneaton, are watch managers for Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Mr Yates-Badley and Mr Stephens were based at Alcester fire station.

Mr Reid was based at the Rugby and Stratford-upon-Avon fire stations, while Mr Averis was at Stratford.

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