FIRE DOOR TRIAL 2 MIN

A fire tears through a city centre hotel in Leeds with more than 600 occupants. Starting in the hotel's lower ground floor server room, the blaze spreads to the ground and first floor, causing the building to be evacuated and at least one guest to suffer smoke inhalation.

Thankfully, this hotel fire is purely fictional. It was the premise for a 'mock trial', co-hosted by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) and Russell-Cooke.

The trial might be staged, but the issue is deadly serious. In the nearly three years since the Grenfell fire, the issue of fire safety in multi-occupancy buildings has become a matter of national concern. Indeed, last year saw five major residential fires and a number of other serious blazes in hotels – the most recent in December.

Jenny Boyden, senior associate in our criminal litigation team and prosecution counsel in the mock trial observed that the installation of the doors in this example left "obvious gaps and holes during the refurbishment", thus allowing the fire to spread more quickly.

Kizzy Augustin, a partner and health and safety specialist, played the judge. She later told Inside Housing that the case came down to an understanding of risk, as much as anything else. "A lot of people came with no expectations but came away understanding how bad it can get if you don't appreciate risk" explains Kizzy. 

Mock trial shows seriousness of fire door safety is available to read on the Inside Housing website.