Coroner recommendations following a maisonette fire

The Federation has received a Prevention of Future Deaths report from the Assistant Coroner for the Eastern Area of Greater London. The letter outlines the circumstances of two residents’ deaths in a maisonette fire, and asks housing associations and other landlords to take action to help keep residents safe.

6 February 2019

On 25 January 2017 two residents in a flat in East London died in a maisonette fire. The coroner’s inquest identified three key problems that contributed to the deaths:

  • undermining of the originally provided fire safety measures, i.e. missing kitchen door
  • absence of functioning fire detection and warning in the hall or landing
  • the design of alternative means of escape, which comprised the balcony on the upper level of the maisonette.

The maisonette was let for use as a single private dwelling. At the time of the fire, it was being used as a House in Multiple Occupation, but the fire safety issues of concern and the recommendations from the inquest relate to any maisonette used as a single-family dwelling. 

In response to these findings, the coroner recommends that all landlords undertake a fire safety risk assessment for their flats, where these flats require an alternative means of escape from any storey level, such as escape via a linking balcony.

Landlords’ assessments, and any remedial works, should follow the advice in the Local Government Association (LGA) Fire Safety in Purpose-Built Block of Flats guide, specifically Section 56.

Download the guidance from the LGA’s website