The ArgusWoman fights for life after Brighton flat fire (From The Argus)

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Woman fights for life after Brighton flat fire

The Argus: Damage to the flat in  Park Crescent Terrace, Brighton Damage to the flat in Park Crescent Terrace, Brighton

A woman is fighting for her life after lying unconscious in her burning bedroom as firefighters battled to reach her through parked cars.

Fire crews told The Argus they had lost six “vital minutes” getting to the blaze because of “inconsiderately” parked cars.

A fire engine had to force its way past two parked cars in Park Crescent Terrace, Brighton, including a BMW 320, to get to the trapped woman, named locally as Julie Marriott.

Cars were legally parked on both sides of the narrow road, including on a single yellow line and in a council bay, but had not left enough room for emergency vehicles.

It took eight minutes for the fire engine to reach the scene from Preston Circus fire station, rather than two |minutes if the road had been clear.

A passer-by raised the alarm after spotting flames flickering in the first floor window at 11.20pm on Wednesday evening.

Fire investigators believe the blaze was started by a tea light. Charred bedding and a burnt mattress have been thrown out of the flat.

Fire crews said the Brighton and Hove City Council-owned flat rented by the woman who is in her early 50s had no smoke alarm.

Watch manager Richard Chamberlain said the detector would have raised the alarm at least 30 minutes earlier.

A man who lives upstairs from Ms Marriott said after calling 999 the passer-by who spotted the blaze banged on the doors of the other eight residents in the red brick three-storey block.

Smoke logged

The neighbour said: “I rushed down and the door was open but there was a big dog going mad behind the door so we couldn’t get in.

“The fire brigade was there minutes later. When two fire fighters brought her out I was convinced she was dead, but they did CPR and she was sitting up in the ambulance.”

Watch manager Richard Chamberlain said: “The fire was dying down when we got there but the room was very heavily smoke logged. It had been quite a severe fire.

“The injuries were life threatening. She was in a very bad way when we got her out. She had severe smoke inhalation and burns to her legs.”

Another neighbour described Ms Marriott, who was in a critical but stable condition last night, as a “lovely lady”.

Mr Chamberlain said their rescue efforts were seriously hampered by cars.

He said: “Parked cars had to be almost pushed out of the way by our fire appliance, which was also damaged, to get to the incident.

“People really need to think about where they park because it delayed us getting crews into the building by five minutes.

“Cars weren’t illegally parked but inconsiderately parked on both sides of the road with room only for a small car.

“People need to think – next time it could be their house going up in flames or their relatives trapped inside.

“Lives are at risk and every minute counts. It’s frustrating and happens in Brighton all the time.”

One local resident said parking in the area was a nightmare, adding: “At night it’s terrible. Even small cars struggle to get through.”

Fire crews were forced to park 300 metres away when a schoolboy was trapped inside his burning family home in Toronto Terrace, Hanover, in December 2010.

Smoke alarms

And in January 2009 crews struggled to reach a home in St Mary Magdalene Street after three-year-old Stanley Townsend turned on a cooker, accidently starting a blaze.

A council spokeswoman said the council was not legally obliged to install smoke alarms in all council flats.

She said: “At this time we are concerned foremost with the welfare of the tenant.

“Regarding fire safety, current government guidance for purpose built blocks of flats does not require a fire alarm system to be fitted in the common way. “There is no legislation that requires fire detector systems to be fitted inside a unit of accommodation used as a single private dwelling but it is council policy to fit smoke alarms when properties are refurbished and rewired and many flats in council owned blocks do already have these.

“We work in partnership with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service which is able to carry out home safety visits and fit smoke detectors where necessary, free of charge.”

An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added that it could not be confirmed who would be liable for the damage to the vehicles as it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

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Comments (29)

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12:23pm Fri 16 Nov 12

hammerfan says...

Once again inconsiderate parking has put life in danger. Parking control across the city is imperative and should be fully enforced. What with recent events around the schools motorists must be made aware of the dangers!
Once again inconsiderate parking has put life in danger. Parking control across the city is imperative and should be fully enforced. What with recent events around the schools motorists must be made aware of the dangers! hammerfan
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Fri 16 Nov 12

hammerfan says...

Once again inconsiderate parking has put life in danger. Parking control across the city is imperative and should be fully enforced. What with recent events around the schools motorists must be made aware of the dangers!
Once again inconsiderate parking has put life in danger. Parking control across the city is imperative and should be fully enforced. What with recent events around the schools motorists must be made aware of the dangers! hammerfan
  • Score: 0

12:32pm Fri 16 Nov 12

wole says...

A great shame about this lady but the council has to take some of the blame for this. They make it impossible to park anywhere in this town therefore giving drivers no choice but to park where they can!
A great shame about this lady but the council has to take some of the blame for this. They make it impossible to park anywhere in this town therefore giving drivers no choice but to park where they can! wole
  • Score: 0

12:42pm Fri 16 Nov 12

reggie kray says...

or does someone actually have the brains to invent a smaller appliance that can travel to fires that they have known for years wont get reached by the big boys !!! its not rocket science ...
or does someone actually have the brains to invent a smaller appliance that can travel to fires that they have known for years wont get reached by the big boys !!! its not rocket science ... reggie kray
  • Score: 0

12:51pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Jimmy Stewart's Imaginary Rabbit says...

wole wrote:
A great shame about this lady but the council has to take some of the blame for this. They make it impossible to park anywhere in this town therefore giving drivers no choice but to park where they can!
Agreed. Not totally the fault of the people who owned the cars, the Council must take some responsibility.
[quote][p][bold]wole[/bold] wrote: A great shame about this lady but the council has to take some of the blame for this. They make it impossible to park anywhere in this town therefore giving drivers no choice but to park where they can![/p][/quote]Agreed. Not totally the fault of the people who owned the cars, the Council must take some responsibility. Jimmy Stewart's Imaginary Rabbit
  • Score: 0

12:56pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Nick Brighton says...

Jimmy Stewart's Imaginary Rabbit wrote:
wole wrote:
A great shame about this lady but the council has to take some of the blame for this. They make it impossible to park anywhere in this town therefore giving drivers no choice but to park where they can!
Agreed. Not totally the fault of the people who owned the cars, the Council must take some responsibility.
Quite right. The 999 call receiver will then ask the question to the caller as to whether their street or any of the streets leading to the fire is narrow, thus affording the fire service the opportunity to select their most appropriate vehicle. While it's not being used they can polish it. If it's already in use when the call comes in, the fire can be scheduled for later.
[quote][p][bold]Jimmy Stewart's Imaginary Rabbit[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wole[/bold] wrote: A great shame about this lady but the council has to take some of the blame for this. They make it impossible to park anywhere in this town therefore giving drivers no choice but to park where they can![/p][/quote]Agreed. Not totally the fault of the people who owned the cars, the Council must take some responsibility.[/p][/quote]Quite right. The 999 call receiver will then ask the question to the caller as to whether their street or any of the streets leading to the fire is narrow, thus affording the fire service the opportunity to select their most appropriate vehicle. While it's not being used they can polish it. If it's already in use when the call comes in, the fire can be scheduled for later. Nick Brighton
  • Score: 0

1:17pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

The story says the cars were parked legally which suggests that the council should look at what is safer or more suitable to ensure access by fire appliance.
Not really anyone's fault, although using a tea light is risky.
The story says the cars were parked legally which suggests that the council should look at what is safer or more suitable to ensure access by fire appliance. Not really anyone's fault, although using a tea light is risky. Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 0

1:23pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Grinny says...

Poor woman!This must have been awful for her,not knowing whether she would live.And for the witnesses being unable to help,for her neighbours not knowing whether the fire would spread,and for the fire fighters trying to save lives and property!
But hey-ho you need to park as close to your home as possible.That is far more important than anything else.
What if someone dies due to inconsiderate parking?What if someone needs an ambulance?
How do you propose the council deal with this?Pave over our green spaces just for you to park?Insist on a one car per property policy(not a bad idea actually)?OR (and here's a thought) you could walk or use the bus?This area in particular is served by many buses,and is only a short walk from the town or station.
It's about time you got out of your wheeled metal box and had some consideration for others.
Poor woman!This must have been awful for her,not knowing whether she would live.And for the witnesses being unable to help,for her neighbours not knowing whether the fire would spread,and for the fire fighters trying to save lives and property! But hey-ho you need to park as close to your home as possible.That is far more important than anything else. What if someone dies due to inconsiderate parking?What if someone needs an ambulance? How do you propose the council deal with this?Pave over our green spaces just for you to park?Insist on a one car per property policy(not a bad idea actually)?OR (and here's a thought) you could walk or use the bus?This area in particular is served by many buses,and is only a short walk from the town or station. It's about time you got out of your wheeled metal box and had some consideration for others. Grinny
  • Score: 0

1:30pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Hove Actually says...

An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added that it could not be confirmed who would be liable for the damage to the vehicles as it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

WRONG... if the car was legally parked then Trumpton do not have the right to damage it and claim it was the car drivers fault, the council are to blame here but ESFR will foot the bill
An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added that it could not be confirmed who would be liable for the damage to the vehicles as it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. WRONG... if the car was legally parked then Trumpton do not have the right to damage it and claim it was the car drivers fault, the council are to blame here but ESFR will foot the bill Hove Actually
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Fri 16 Nov 12

s&k says...

wole wrote:
A great shame about this lady but the council has to take some of the blame for this. They make it impossible to park anywhere in this town therefore giving drivers no choice but to park where they can!
Absolute nonsense - the Council have nothing to do with this issue. Brighton is small, overcrowded with many narrow, hilly streets and too many cars!
[quote][p][bold]wole[/bold] wrote: A great shame about this lady but the council has to take some of the blame for this. They make it impossible to park anywhere in this town therefore giving drivers no choice but to park where they can![/p][/quote]Absolute nonsense - the Council have nothing to do with this issue. Brighton is small, overcrowded with many narrow, hilly streets and too many cars! s&k
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Brightonlocal says...

Hove Actually wrote:
An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added that it could not be confirmed who would be liable for the damage to the vehicles as it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

WRONG... if the car was legally parked then Trumpton do not have the right to damage it and claim it was the car drivers fault, the council are to blame here but ESFR will foot the bill
But if the fire service cant get through, then they have powers to force their way through. The woman would likley to have died had they not. What is more important, a BMW 320's wing mirrors, or a womans life? I'm sure the fire service will foot the bill, but it isnt right. It will still come out of our council tax money.
[quote][p][bold]Hove Actually[/bold] wrote: An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added that it could not be confirmed who would be liable for the damage to the vehicles as it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. WRONG... if the car was legally parked then Trumpton do not have the right to damage it and claim it was the car drivers fault, the council are to blame here but ESFR will foot the bill[/p][/quote]But if the fire service cant get through, then they have powers to force their way through. The woman would likley to have died had they not. What is more important, a BMW 320's wing mirrors, or a womans life? I'm sure the fire service will foot the bill, but it isnt right. It will still come out of our council tax money. Brightonlocal
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Fri 16 Nov 12

angrymonkey says...

No change a BMW driver thinking they own the road again and not giving a thought to others good on the fire service .
No change a BMW driver thinking they own the road again and not giving a thought to others good on the fire service . angrymonkey
  • Score: 0

2:04pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Brightonscouse2 says...

Hove Actually wrote:
An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added that it could not be confirmed who would be liable for the damage to the vehicles as it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

WRONG... if the car was legally parked then Trumpton do not have the right to damage it and claim it was the car drivers fault, the council are to blame here but ESFR will foot the bill
This is nonsense. The driver should be liable for the damage. They may not have been parked illegally, but they were parked inconsideratley. If they hadn't partially blocked the road then no damage would have been caused to their vehicle.
I don't see how it's the council's fault either. There are no parking restrictions around Park Crescent Terrace. The driver could have found a parking space nearby.
[quote][p][bold]Hove Actually[/bold] wrote: An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added that it could not be confirmed who would be liable for the damage to the vehicles as it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. WRONG... if the car was legally parked then Trumpton do not have the right to damage it and claim it was the car drivers fault, the council are to blame here but ESFR will foot the bill[/p][/quote]This is nonsense. The driver should be liable for the damage. They may not have been parked illegally, but they were parked inconsideratley. If they hadn't partially blocked the road then no damage would have been caused to their vehicle. I don't see how it's the council's fault either. There are no parking restrictions around Park Crescent Terrace. The driver could have found a parking space nearby. Brightonscouse2
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Fri 16 Nov 12

HJarrs says...

Brightonscouse2 wrote:
Hove Actually wrote: An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added that it could not be confirmed who would be liable for the damage to the vehicles as it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. WRONG... if the car was legally parked then Trumpton do not have the right to damage it and claim it was the car drivers fault, the council are to blame here but ESFR will foot the bill
This is nonsense. The driver should be liable for the damage. They may not have been parked illegally, but they were parked inconsideratley. If they hadn't partially blocked the road then no damage would have been caused to their vehicle. I don't see how it's the council's fault either. There are no parking restrictions around Park Crescent Terrace. The driver could have found a parking space nearby.
Of course it is the councl's fault. Don't you know they take people at gunpoint down to car showrooms to buy the biggest car possible? You don't think anyone in B&H, a town with narrow streets and resticted opportunity for parking, would buy large cars otherwise?
[quote][p][bold]Brightonscouse2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hove Actually[/bold] wrote: An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman added that it could not be confirmed who would be liable for the damage to the vehicles as it would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. WRONG... if the car was legally parked then Trumpton do not have the right to damage it and claim it was the car drivers fault, the council are to blame here but ESFR will foot the bill[/p][/quote]This is nonsense. The driver should be liable for the damage. They may not have been parked illegally, but they were parked inconsideratley. If they hadn't partially blocked the road then no damage would have been caused to their vehicle. I don't see how it's the council's fault either. There are no parking restrictions around Park Crescent Terrace. The driver could have found a parking space nearby.[/p][/quote]Of course it is the councl's fault. Don't you know they take people at gunpoint down to car showrooms to buy the biggest car possible? You don't think anyone in B&H, a town with narrow streets and resticted opportunity for parking, would buy large cars otherwise? HJarrs
  • Score: 0

3:03pm Fri 16 Nov 12

NickBtn says...

The parking delayed the fire engine by 6 minutes. The lack of smoke alarm by 30 minutes (according to the report)

So the key issue is lack of a smoke alarm

The council is forcing others (landlords) to install but not doing enough itself. Only doing when rewiring (every 15-25 years) doesn't sound enough. What % of council homes don't come up to standard and what are the council plans to improve?
The parking delayed the fire engine by 6 minutes. The lack of smoke alarm by 30 minutes (according to the report) So the key issue is lack of a smoke alarm The council is forcing others (landlords) to install but not doing enough itself. Only doing when rewiring (every 15-25 years) doesn't sound enough. What % of council homes don't come up to standard and what are the council plans to improve? NickBtn
  • Score: 0

3:04pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Brighton Living says...

Most likely a local resident who parked there because they can’t park down their own road as all the parking scheme areas are dumping their cars there for free parking…… Like Lincoin Street in Hanover!
Most likely a local resident who parked there because they can’t park down their own road as all the parking scheme areas are dumping their cars there for free parking…… Like Lincoin Street in Hanover! Brighton Living
  • Score: 0

3:04pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Brighton Living says...

Most likely a local resident who parked there because they can’t park down their own road as all the parking scheme areas are dumping their cars there for free parking…… Like Lincoin Street in Hanover!
Most likely a local resident who parked there because they can’t park down their own road as all the parking scheme areas are dumping their cars there for free parking…… Like Lincoin Street in Hanover! Brighton Living
  • Score: 0

3:15pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Brightonscouse2 says...

Brighton Living wrote:
Most likely a local resident who parked there because they can’t park down their own road as all the parking scheme areas are dumping their cars there for free parking…… Like Lincoin Street in Hanover!
Well that's a perfectly acceptable reason then. It's not though is it? The area surrounding Park Crescent, including the side streets bordering Lewes Road, do not have parking restrictions, as far as I'm aware. Neither do the side streets to the left of Elm Grove. There are plenty of places to park for free in this area. The truth is that it was probably a lazy resident/ visitor who couldn't be bothered to park a little bit further from where they live/are visiting.
[quote][p][bold]Brighton Living[/bold] wrote: Most likely a local resident who parked there because they can’t park down their own road as all the parking scheme areas are dumping their cars there for free parking…… Like Lincoin Street in Hanover![/p][/quote]Well that's a perfectly acceptable reason then. It's not though is it? The area surrounding Park Crescent, including the side streets bordering Lewes Road, do not have parking restrictions, as far as I'm aware. Neither do the side streets to the left of Elm Grove. There are plenty of places to park for free in this area. The truth is that it was probably a lazy resident/ visitor who couldn't be bothered to park a little bit further from where they live/are visiting. Brightonscouse2
  • Score: 0

3:44pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Algeria Touchshriek says...

Hope she makes a speedy recovery and her flat is not too damaged.
Hope she makes a speedy recovery and her flat is not too damaged. Algeria Touchshriek
  • Score: 0

3:54pm Fri 16 Nov 12

sussexram40 says...

Regardless of what restrictions are in place, yellow lines or no yellow lines, obstructing a public highway is an offence in law.
Regardless of what restrictions are in place, yellow lines or no yellow lines, obstructing a public highway is an offence in law. sussexram40
  • Score: 0

4:14pm Fri 16 Nov 12

johnthomas says...

When the council introduced the parking scheme in Preston Park Avenue they removed double yellow lines at the Southern end & made the road parking both sides.

We told them the road was too narrow for 2 way traffic & pointed out safety risks to pedestrians, cyclists & motorists. I have seen narrow misses & angry exchanges ever since & there is now a high risk of someone being injured or worse

Their response was "the width of the road meets European regulations"

It's like banging your head against a brick wall
When the council introduced the parking scheme in Preston Park Avenue they removed double yellow lines at the Southern end & made the road parking both sides. We told them the road was too narrow for 2 way traffic & pointed out safety risks to pedestrians, cyclists & motorists. I have seen narrow misses & angry exchanges ever since & there is now a high risk of someone being injured or worse Their response was "the width of the road meets European regulations" It's like banging your head against a brick wall johnthomas
  • Score: 0

6:59pm Fri 16 Nov 12

fiveofeight says...

It's beyond me how the council can set out parking so that there's no space for emergency vehicles to pass through. They must have a duty of care in this regard?
Presumably they buckle under the pressure put on them by the car driving classes.
Get on your bikes folks!
It's beyond me how the council can set out parking so that there's no space for emergency vehicles to pass through. They must have a duty of care in this regard? Presumably they buckle under the pressure put on them by the car driving classes. Get on your bikes folks! fiveofeight
  • Score: 0

8:05pm Fri 16 Nov 12

reggie kray says...

am i missing something here !!! since when was a car parked with two wheels on the pavement straddling a yellow line parked legally ....
am i missing something here !!! since when was a car parked with two wheels on the pavement straddling a yellow line parked legally .... reggie kray
  • Score: 0

10:43pm Fri 16 Nov 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

The council owned property had no smoke alarm.
The council and the fire service used to give free fire checks and alarms to homes in East Brighton.
The killer in a fire is the smoke not the fire therefore the lack of alarm is the key here while the parking issue is a smokescreen to the lack of a key safety feature a £5 smoke alarm
The council owned property had no smoke alarm. The council and the fire service used to give free fire checks and alarms to homes in East Brighton. The killer in a fire is the smoke not the fire therefore the lack of alarm is the key here while the parking issue is a smokescreen to the lack of a key safety feature a £5 smoke alarm Maxwell's Ghost
  • Score: 0

12:01am Sat 17 Nov 12

skippy981 says...

From the pictures in this report the car was parked illegally it's parked half on the road and half on the pavement. So I would not expect ESFR to pick up the bill. just goes to show how selfish people are.
From the pictures in this report the car was parked illegally it's parked half on the road and half on the pavement. So I would not expect ESFR to pick up the bill. just goes to show how selfish people are. skippy981
  • Score: 0

7:23am Sat 17 Nov 12

lespaul says...

I walked past the BMW that was parked there in the morning, it had a note and something else attached to the windscreen. There wasn't much room to get a normal sized car through, as for a fire engine...

You park and leave your car at your own risk. It's the drivers fault for parking it in a stupid place to start with.
I walked past the BMW that was parked there in the morning, it had a note and something else attached to the windscreen. There wasn't much room to get a normal sized car through, as for a fire engine... You park and leave your car at your own risk. It's the drivers fault for parking it in a stupid place to start with. lespaul
  • Score: 0

12:19pm Sat 17 Nov 12

Smugley says...

It is unbelievable that anyone would consider living in a dwelling without fire alarms. Absolutely unbelievable. It is sad to hear that this woman had to learn such a simple lesson the hard way.
It is unbelievable that anyone would consider living in a dwelling without fire alarms. Absolutely unbelievable. It is sad to hear that this woman had to learn such a simple lesson the hard way. Smugley
  • Score: 0

5:59pm Sat 17 Nov 12

Dirk Von Roden says...

the council forced my previous landlord to instal smoke alarms throughout the building ! he sold up and I ended up sleeping on sofas until I could find an alternative place cheap enough to live in! You may say its not unusual ! but this was in 1994!!!! FIT smoke alarms Brighton Council ! and Ms Marriot I hope you have a swift recovery!
the council forced my previous landlord to instal smoke alarms throughout the building ! he sold up and I ended up sleeping on sofas until I could find an alternative place cheap enough to live in! You may say its not unusual ! but this was in 1994!!!! FIT smoke alarms Brighton Council ! and Ms Marriot I hope you have a swift recovery! Dirk Von Roden
  • Score: 0

9:38am Sun 18 Nov 12

nxcoachdriver says...

I have to say that I am on the side of the fire fighters the car owner should pay for all the damage, not only to their car but to the appliance too.
Too many car drivers these days are so very inconsiderate, not only where they park but on the road as well. Specially drivers of big cars and 4x4s, why on earth you need a 4x4 in urban environment I don't know.
The council are not to blame nor the fire service. If it was me driving the fire engine I would do the same and shunted the car out of the way.
Remember a life is far more important than a flashy car that's yet again think they own the road.
Well done the firefighters who risk their lives to make our lives safer and a slapped wrist to the council for not ensuring this lady had a smoke alarm fitted in her flat.
I hope this lady is well soon.
I have to say that I am on the side of the fire fighters the car owner should pay for all the damage, not only to their car but to the appliance too. Too many car drivers these days are so very inconsiderate, not only where they park but on the road as well. Specially drivers of big cars and 4x4s, why on earth you need a 4x4 in urban environment I don't know. The council are not to blame nor the fire service. If it was me driving the fire engine I would do the same and shunted the car out of the way. Remember a life is far more important than a flashy car that's yet again think they own the road. Well done the firefighters who risk their lives to make our lives safer and a slapped wrist to the council for not ensuring this lady had a smoke alarm fitted in her flat. I hope this lady is well soon. nxcoachdriver
  • Score: 0

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