Leeds pensioner fire death prompts safety warning to landlords

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THE death of a Leeds pensioner in a devastating house blaze has prompted an urgent fire safety warning to the city’s landlords.

Joyce Williams, who was in her 80s, was killed when flames tore through a rented house on Westbourne Place, Beeston on January 5.

The building was not fitted with smoke alarms, sparking a warning from both West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and Leeds City Council for landlords to get their houses in order and prevent a similar tragedy.

ACO Craig McIntosh, director of Service Delivery for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It’s time landlords started taking their responsibility to tenants seriously. It’s costs very little to ensure smoke alarms are installed and to put simple measures in place to ensure the safety of their tenants – all of which would prevent unnecessary tragedies such as this one.”

According to the fire service, 96 per cent of dwelling fire deaths in West Yorkshire happen in rented accommodation, with 80 per cent of those not have working smoke alarms.

Leeds City Council is setting up a Neighbourhood Team which from April, along with WYFRS Prevention officers, will work with private landlords.

They will visit residents and make sure private landlords are taking their responsibilities seriously.

Councillor Peter Gruen, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for Neighbourhoods, Planning and Support Services, said: “It is extremely sad to hear of this tragic incident . My thoughts are with the family of Ms Williams.

“I think this serves as an urgent reminder to all landlords that they have a responsibility to carry out a fire safety risk assessment on their properties and fit the appropriate detection mechanisms.

“Where we can, the council and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will use powers to ensure landlords fit the correct fire prevention mechanisms in their properties, and we will take enforcement action where necessary if we hear or know of any landlords not working within the rules.

“Advice on carrying out fire safety risk assessments can be found on the council’s website.”

Car runs into house in Flaxton Gardens, Beeston# Pic Tony Kemp

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