Lewes Forum thread

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For anyone still confused over the guilty verdict

On 17 Dec 2009 at 2:18pm LewesLou wrote:
The site was licensed for the following
1.3G Explosives - Mass fire, minor blast or fragment
1.4G Explosives - Moderate fire, no blast or fragment
Aside from this the explosives can only be stored in registered buildings licensed by HSE with certain separation distances.
The container that took the firemen out was packed with 1.1G Explosives - Mass explosion hazard.
Furthermore the store was not licensed one jot, not even for a sparkler! 1.1G explosives should never have been on that site, and nothing should have been in that store. 1.1G explosives WERE NOT LICENSED FOR MARLIE FARM.
With regards to verbal warnings to the fire officers; It was proved in a court of law that evidence showed Martin Winters warnings were virtually non-existent or inappropriate and Nathan's warnings were insufficient given the knowledge he had of the contents of the container, their classification and the mass explosion danger they posed.
Hope this clears thing up although I fear not. I await some inane illiterate rambling from some family member or close friend.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 2:47pm Chris wrote:
Negligent Yes
Deserving of 5+ years in prison No
On 17 Dec 2009 at 2:57pm PeteO wrote:
Guilty Verdict is fair but I agree it seems a bit extreme to put them in prison for that long for storing the wrong thing in the wrong container.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 3:10pm LewesLou wrote:
It wasn't really just a case of storing the wrong thing in the wrong container; it reaches far further than that.
I must admit though 7 and 5 years seems a bit harsh, perhaps the companys history didn't help. HSE take a dim view on this sort of thing and with the amount of fireworks coming into the country these days it is also conceivable that the sentence is such that it serves as a warning to others.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 3:34pm Illiterate Rambling wrote:
OK Leweslou, thats the case of the Winters sorted out, now lets have the benefit of your extensive legal knowledge in the case of fire chiefs apparant cavalier and negligant attitude towards safety regulations.
I don't think anyone has said the Winters were innocent which is what you seem to be arguing against, but to say that their warnings were insufficient is no defence of the fire brigades actions, they should have evacuated the site regardless of the category of the fireworks as it was a fire involving explosives. They admitted this in court. What has upset people is that the fire brigade apparantly made the equally dangerous decision not to do this and yet have appeared to get off scot free.
As for 'knowing the companys history', what do you mean? Are you saying that the authorities knew that these fireworks were being stored there ? Did they know of any other problems ? If so, why and by whom was it allowed to continue ?
And again I stress, I am not saying anyone was innocent, and again, I do not know either Martin or Nathan Winter, in fact I probably know more firemen than I do Winters !
On 17 Dec 2009 at 3:48pm LewesLou wrote:

Mr Illiterate
My post was a response to the many that seem to think the Winters did nothing wrong. As for the fire brigade, I am not suggesting that they followed procedure as they should have done but from my understanding they didn't go in to "ground zero" initially as MW was calling them cowards for staying back. From the video I saw they seemed to think that everything was under control, unaware of the unlicensed container. Yes they may have things to answer for but I am guessing that the situation was explained satisfactorily during the six week court hearing.
As for company history, I am not suggesting that HSE knew what was going on at Marlie farm but they were previously fined for storing without a license and their insurers had warned them to get rid of the 1.1G material that was being stored there.
Maybe a lot of local peoples anger is the fact that the fire brigade seem unaccountable? Lets not forget though that these people put their life in danger without question.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 5:11pm Spanish4 wrote:
I think that many local people (many of whom have at least a passing interest in pyrotechnics) are seriously concerned that ESFRS seem to not only of got off scott free but the bosses who ordered their employees into a deadly situation have shown no interest in acknowledging their mistakes or the need for better training.
I hope we all respect the fire brigade, I for one see firefighters as true heroes who deserve not only the respect of the general public, but also the proper training, equipment and leadership to do their job in as safe a way as possible.
That is where I have a problem with the current situation, all the blame has been placed on the Winters, who whilst being undoubtedly guilty of a range of offenses are not solely responsible for the deaths that occurred. If ESFRS do not take their share of the blame and undergo a full and proper review of how they deal with explosive fires then we will likely see more firefighter deaths in the future.
It is impossible to prevent people from breaking the law and storing fireworks illegally, however with proper training and following of correct procedure then the risks to firefighters when such an illegal store catches fire can be minimized.
Sussex quite possibly has a higher density of pyrotechnics stores than most parts of the UK and i would really like our fire service to take the lives of their firefighters a bit more seriously than they seem to of done in this case.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 7:11pm reallysad wrote:
The Fire Service do need to look at their procedures and their turn will come, but they were not on trial this time. They are not as stupid as many people are making them out to be - had they known just how dangerous the container was they would not have been near it. The proper licensed store was much further away and they were at a safe distance from it - proved by the fact that the legally-stored fireworks were still in the store unharmed after the explosion. They were trying to stop the fire spreading the the store and Martin's house. Only the Winters knew the extent of the danger - and yet Martin was saying "What the f*** are you standing here talking to me for? My business is burning down, why aren't you putting it out?" Yes they gave some sort of warning, but if you were in their position wouldn't you have moved heaven and earth to get everyone off the site if that was the right thing to do?
On 17 Dec 2009 at 7:35pm Cliffebimbo wrote:
LewesLou, not all of the family are illiterate. All I will say is that although I accept that Martin and Nathan are guilty, like many others I do feel that the fire brigade should take a certain degree of responsibility. And 7 & 5 years????? A bit harsh considering that, in my opinion, they have already paid a debt to society. What benefit will it be to have them off the streets?
On 17 Dec 2009 at 7:35pm Cliffebimbo wrote:
By the way, LewesLou, was my english and grammar ok?
On 18 Dec 2009 at 7:05pm WaterLou wrote:
That should be 'English', Cliffebimbo.

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