Report by Simon Angear , Content Editor
Monday, August 6, 2012
AN ALARM-MONITORING company has struck an out-of-court deal – believed to run into millions of pounds – with the owners of Weston’s Grand Pier over 2008’s devastating fire.
The landmark attraction saw its pavilion totally destroyed by a devastating blaze four years ago this week.
Since then, its owners Kerry and Michelle Michael have been locked in a legal dispute with two firms employed to monitor the pier’s fire alarms.
Yeoman Monitoring Services of Essex and System 2 Security of Locking Road in Weston were jointly subject to a legal claim for £39million.
The claim against Yeoman Monitoring has been settled privately, with no admission of liability, this week. However, action against System 2 Security is ongoing, and a court hearing is scheduled for the autumn.
Court papers obtained by the Mercury outline the Michaels’ case that the two firms failed to respond when alarms first sounded at 1.35am on the day of the fire – with no 999 calls made until nearly 7am.
The claim suggests the Grade II-listed pavilion may have been saved if the alarm had been sounded sooner.
The court claim said: “(The fire) was of course in a much more advanced state than it would have been if the fire service had been called to attend shortly after the fire alarm was first triggered.
“The pavilion on the pier was irretrievably set alight and was entirely lost to the fire.
“It is of the essence with a fire alarm that any triggering of it cannot be ignored and has to be addressed immediately, not least due to the risk of injury to individuals and extensive damage to property.”
The exact terms of this week’s settlement have not been made public, and Yeoman Monitoring declined to comment when contacted by the Mercury.
However, a spokesman for the Grand Pier said: “Following the devastating fire that saw the pavilion completely destroyed in July 2008, Grand Pier Ltd commenced proceedings against two companies last year.
“One of those companies, Yeoman Monitoring Services Ltd, has reached an out-of-court settlement with Grand Pier Ltd to end their involvement in court proceedings with no admissions of liability made by Yeoman Monitoring.
“However, the action against local company, System 2 Security Ltd of Locking Road, Weston, is still continuing in the Bristol Mercantile Court.
“The matter is listed for trial in November.”