Beds, Herts & Bucks

Woodlands View: Cylinder 'may not have started' care home fire

Emergency services outside Woodlands View care home in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Image copyright East of England Ambulance Service
Image caption The fire started in a resident's room at the Woodlands View care home

An exploding oxygen cylinder may not have started a fatal care home fire as first thought, a fire chief has said.

A resident in his 80s died after the fire at the Woodlands View home, Stevenage, on Saturday. Another person is in a critical but stable condition.

Hertfordshire County Council said there had been a "minor explosion" caused by an oxygen cylinder.

But the county's fire chief said it was unclear whether this had been the cause of the fire or a result of it.

The person currently in a critical but stable condition was in the same room as the man who died but is not a resident, Hertfordshire Fire Service said.

Five others were treated in hospital for smoke inhalation.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Eight fire engines and six ambulances were sent to the care home, which is run by HC-One

The blaze started at about 16:30 GMT in a room in Lucas House, one of six separate buildings in the complex in Magpie Crescent, owned by HC-One.

Chief fire officer Darryl Keen said it was a "relatively minor explosion" and added: "We're not actually sure yet whether that was the cause of the fire or was as a result of the fire and that will obviously be a key part of the investigation."

The investigation would take "a number of weeks", he said.

Conservative county councillor Colette Wyatt-Lowe, cabinet member for adult care and health, said all oxygen cylinders at the home had been removed and replaced as a precaution.

In July the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reported the home, then owned by Bupa, "required improvement" in all areas including safety.

The council said it "needed to make sure [the new owners] had started the process of improvement" and it would be carrying out its own investigation.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption All oxygen cylinders at the home have been replaced as a precaution

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