UK alarm company ordered to pay £30m after pier fire
14 January 2013
An alarm company has been ordered to pay £30 million in interim damages to the owners of Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier, following the fire that completely destroyed the pier’s pavilion in 2008. Judge Mark Havelock-Allan found a “high degree of negligence” from alarm firm System 2 Security (S2S), which went into administration just before the case came to court.
Dozens of firefighters tackled the blaze, which devastated the partly wooden pier, first opened in 1904, in the North Somerset seaside resort during the early hours of 28 July 2008. Fire investigators said the blaze started in an area containing deep fat fryers.
Bristol Mercantile Court was told that there would be a judgement for Grand Pier Limited (GPL) against S2S for damages for breach of contract and for negligence.
The judge said the first breach was in not insisting the pier owners, Kerry and Michelle Michael, provide the name and contact details of more than one key holder. The second was in failing to warn the new owners, who bought the pier in 2008, that the fire alarm system had been subjected to filtering while a previous fault was fixed.
Mr Michael said: “It has cost us hundreds of thousands of pounds to pursue this judgement and we did so knowing that System 2 Security was just a shell of a company with little or no assets, so we had little chance of seeing any compensation from them."
The pier was rebuilt and reopened in October 2010.