Pier fire: Blame lies with local alarm firm

PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 January 2013 | UPDATED: 15:17 02 January 2013

The blaze destroyed the pier in 2008

The blaze destroyed the pier in 2008

Archant

WESTON’S Grand Pier would have been saved from destruction by fire had its alarm company acted correctly, a judge has ruled.

His Honour Judge Mark Havelock-Allan QC found ‘a high degree of negligence’ against System 2 Security and ordered the firm to pay the owners of the pier £30million plus interest.

Although System 2 Security went into administration three days before the court case started on November 19, the pier’s owners have said they will continue to ‘pursue’ the company, its directors and others who gave them advice both before and after the blaze.

The fire gutted the historic landmark on July 28, 2008 and forced pier co-owners Kerry and Michelle Michael into a multi-million pound redevelopment of the site, which reopened in 2010.

The Michaels had pursued legal action against System 2 Security, which is based in Locking Road, and its Essex-based sub-contractor Yeoman Monitoring Services, saying the two firms failed to respond when alarms first sounded at 1.35am on the day of the fire.

No 999 calls were made until nearly 7am, by which time the fire had already claimed much of the landmark.

The claim against Yeoman Monitoring Services was settled privately, with no admission of liability, earlier this year.

Judge Havelock-Allan QC found a ‘high degree of negligence’ against System 2 Security at the Bristol Mercantile Court on December 21, while finding ‘no contributory negligence’ from the Grand Pier Limited.

Following the verdict, Mr Michael said: “There can be no doubt where the blame lies. It has cost us hundreds of thousands of pounds to pursue this judgement and we did so knowing that System 2 Security was just a shell of a company with little or no assets so we had little chance of seeing any compensation from them.

“However, we felt we had a duty to get to the truth behind the fire and identify those responsible for the loss of the Grand Pier. They were clearly responsible for what happened yet they continued to deny any liability until the court case was upon them when they put the company into administration.”


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