Page last updated at 19:03 GMT, Monday, 26 October 2009

Deaths bring new fire alarms call

Stephanie Wojak and Ben McAuliffe
Ben MacAuliffe, eight, and Stephanie Voyak, 15, died in the fire

New calls are being made by MPs for legislation forcing landlords to fit properties with fire alarms after two children died in a house blaze.

Ben MacAuliffe, eight, and Stephanie Voyak, 15, were killed in the blaze in Torquay, Devon, on 17 October.

Their parents and 20-year-old brother were rescued from the fire which is still being investigated.

Devon Fire Service said there was no fire alarm in the house rented from Riviera Housing Trust.

Torbay MP Adrian Sanders said: "We do need to consider making fitting fire alarms law so there is 100% compliance to avoid tragedies such as this."

And he added that the housing association should be checking that all its properties were fitted with fire alarms.

Torquay fire
The fire service said no smoke alarms were fitted in the house

Mr Sanders, who is backed by Teignbridge MP Richard Younger-Ross, said: "Social housing landlords should make sure their accommodation is fitted with working fire alarms when tenants take on the property.

"I would have thought that was standard practice."

There is no legislation forcing landlords to install fire alarms, but in 2004 a code of practice was issued by the government saying landlords had a "duty of care to fit compliant smoke and heat alarm systems".

Riviera Housing Trust owns 2,887 flats and houses in Torquay, Paignton and Brixham which were transferred from Torbay Council in 2001.

Managing director Molly Holmes said: "We were deeply shocked by the tragic deaths of Stephanie and Ben and our thoughts and condolences are with the family.

"The fire is under investigation so we are unable to comment at the present time."

Arson has been ruled out as a cause of the fire.



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