Inquest call for smoke alarm law

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The Independent Online
A coroner yesterday said people who did not fit smoke alarms in their homes should face prosecution after he recorded accidental death verdicts on four children aged three to six who died in a blazing house.

Dr Richard Whittington, who heard that the most likely cause of the fire was a discarded cigarette end in the lounge, told the Birmingham inquest: "When you think hundreds of pounds are spent by smokers, the little bit of money to be spent on a smoke alarm is of such little consequence that nobody can afford not to have them fitted."

Later, he told a Fire Service news conference that he would welcome a situation in which those who did not install smoke alarms were prosecuted in the same way as drink-drivers who killed innocent people on the roads.

He said: "The time has come when the failure to fit a smoke alarm should be considered as gross negligence."

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