Warwickshire Firefighters deaths

Warwickshire County Council has admitted breaching health and safety law in connection with a ferocious warehouse blaze which killed four firefighters.

The local authority pleaded guilty at Wolverhampton Crown Court to failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees, contrary to Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Ian Reid, 44, John Averis, 27, Darren Yates-Badley, 24, and Ashley Stephens, 20, died tackling the fire at a vegetable packing plant in Atherstone-on-Stour in November 2007.

Chris Green, legal representative for Warwickshire County Council, said:

“Warwickshire County Council has today entered a guilty plea to the charge it faces in connection with the Atherstone fire.  That plea is entered on a limited basis and we should make it clear that we do not accept many of the allegations made by the prosecution.  We believe it is very important that we say nothing that in any way prejudices the legal proceedings about these tragic events so we will not be saying anything further except that our thoughts today are with the families and friends of all those affected by the Atherstone fire just over four years ago."