Death blaze leads to fire safety campaign

A blaze which resulted in the death of a 39-year-old man has led to a doorstep drive to promote fire safety.

Patryk Mortimer died following a fire at the former Manor House Care Home, in Easington Lane, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Firefighter Andy Fahey, watch manager Andy Smith and firefighter Bob Foster

Firefighter Andy Fahey, watch manager Andy Smith and firefighter Bob Foster

Two men have been released under investigation after being questioned on suspicion of murder.

An investigation into the cause of the fire continues as police officers are appealing for information to help piece together what happened in the lead-up to the tragedy.

Yesterday, the Sunderland Echo accompanied fire prevention and education teams as they fitted and tested smoke alarms and provided life-saving safety advice to residents in Easington Lane.

Kevin Burns, station manager at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “This is something we do after we have an incident where we think its worth following it up, we will go out in the community.

Firefighter Leigh Edgar with resident Joan Whitfield

Firefighter Leigh Edgar with resident Joan Whitfield

“We’ll go and conduct home safety checks, part of that is fitting of smoke alarms, giving fire safety advice to residents to keep them safe from fire and preventing them from having a fire.

“It’s important as a fire and rescue service we get out in the community and we give advice to keep people safe from fire, provide them with that detection which will give them early indication there’s something wrong.”

More than 30 members of staff and three Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service volunteers took part in the operation which saw four fire engines and numerous prevention teams head to the community surrounding the scene of the tragic fire.

Community firefighter Gwen Adams-Clark, said: “What’s happened today is what is called a hot strike, so because we’ve had a nasty fire, all departments come together - so prevention/education, fire safety, the crews, everybody just descends and saturates the whole area and gives as much advice as possible.

Fire education with John Pate and Gwen Adams-Clark

Fire education with John Pate and Gwen Adams-Clark

“Thankfully this sort of thing doesn’t happen very often.”

Gwen, along with volunteer John Pate, fitted smoke alarms in two properties in Easington Lane.

Yvonne Dickson, 67, and Keith Walton, 70, had new smoke alarms fitted after the batteries on their old alarms had ran out.

Keith said: “They were working but the batteries weren’t lasting and it was draining them too quickly.

“It’s a job done that saves me doing in the future.”

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I’ve often thought about getting a smoke alarm but I’ve never bothered so them coming today has been a godsend.

“It’s a little bit of back up which is reassuring.”

Teams visited houses in Easington Lane that they don’t have previous information or records for and will return at a later date to speak to householders who weren’t in.

John Pate, 72, is a volunteer with the service and has now completed 580 hours of service.

He said: “What I get out of this is what you’ve just seen, a house with no alarms working, and my payment is making that house safe.

“You’re getting something good oout f it and the community is getting something good out of it.”