Skip to content

£1m fine following fire at a BUPA care home – the highest ever fine under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

  • by

BUPA Care Services (ANS) Ltd pleaded guilty to contravening Article 11(1) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in relation to the death of a 69-year-old at one of its care homes in Brockley, London.

The case was brought to court by London Fire Brigade after they identified the care home group placed residents at risk of death or serious injury as a result of failing to take appropriate fire safety measures in relation to management of the risks associated with smoking and emollient creams. The resident at the care home, a wheelchair user died in a fire whilst smoking unsupervised in a shelter in the garden of the home.

Emollient products generally contain paraffin and are widely used for a variety of skin conditions such as bed sores, ulcers and eczema. Although safe to use, the residue builds up over time soaking into items of clothing and bedding and increasing their flammability. If, as was the case with this incident, emollient is exposed to a heat source such as a cigarette, these saturated fabrics can easily catch fire and spread rapidly.

Understanding the risks posed by emollient skin creams and measures to reduce those risks is key to their safe use. Further information on understanding and reducing risks can be found on the London Fire Brigade website here  

For further information on how Regent Fire Consultants can help with management of fire safety within your organisation, please visit our Fire Risk Management page here or contact us by email at