A new law – blocked by Government
The Government has refused to give fire crews new powers that could have helped save two hoarders who died in a fire.
Pensioners Clare and Robert Cain were found dead under the debris after a blaze engulfed their home on Mather Avenue in Allerton last October.
A hoarding habit meant their house was so full it may have trapped them inside. This prevented fire crews getting in to help the couple, an investigation found.
They had been living in just a single room of their three-bed home. All rooms in the house were piled high with goods bought by Mr Cain, who admitted to being a “compulsive buyer”.
Mrs Cain, 75, and 72-year-old Mr Cain were solely confined to the front room of their home. They slept in arm chairs, only using a halogen or fan heater for warmth.
The couple were unable to access any other room in their house, apart from a separate toilet space upstairs.
At an inquest at Liverpool Coroners Court, Andrew Parsons, of Liverpool Council ’s Environmental Health Department, said the Cains’ home was the “worst case of hoarding he had ever seen” in his 14 years of doing the job.
What does the new law entail?
An inquest heard that Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service had tried to warn them about the risk of hoarding. However, Mr Cain refused to allow them in.
Liverpool’s senior coroner then urged the Home Office to grant fire services the power to enter hoarders’ homes. This would help to prevent further tragedies.
Mr Robello OBE said the law should be revised so fire crews could order people to let them in. This would allow them to assess risk, install smoke alarms and get hoarded goods cleared.
Now home secretary secretary Amber Rudd has refused to change the law, in a letter to the coroner seen by the ECHO.
Read on to find out more about the Government’s decision to block this potentially life saving new law.
Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from hoarding, you can contact us at www.facebook.com/CloudsEndCIC for help.