A Nursing home employee who silenced a fire alarm and failed to carry out a search of the premises when a fire alarm sounded was convicted of a breach of Article 23(1)(a) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 .

On 28 March 2011 Karen Sykes, 41, of Brooklands Road, Sale, appeared before Manchester Crown Court under following a fire at Oldfield Bank Residential Care Home in Highgate Road, Altrincham. The court heard how fire broke out in May 2010 when Sykes was duty manager.

The fire alarm was beleived to have sounded at about 6pm, but the alarm was silenced and Sykes failed to ensure that a proper search of the premises was carried out. The alarm was discovered in ‘silence’ mode when crew from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service arrived to tackle the blaze.

A fire was later discovered in room 25 and a 999 call was made at about 7.15pm.

Elderly resident Enid West died following the fire. When sentencing Sykes,  Judge Justice Lakin said: “My duty is clear. I have to apply the law. As the manager of the care home it was Sykes responsibility for the fire alarm and evacuation.” Due to her lack of income Sykes was fined only £500.

Christopher Morris, a Fire alarm engineer 56, of Llandudno, North Wales, had already been sentenced in relation to the same incident and was fined £5,000, was ordered to pay £6,000 prosecution costs.