Lewes Forum thread

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New Lewes rule

On 17 Dec 2009 at 12:01pm Bunter wrote:
The rule is: If somebody you know is tried and convicted then it is wrong, an obvious travesty of justice. If it is somebody you don't know, well that's fine and the sentence probably isn't long enough.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 12:16pm Humbug wrote:
I don't know them, and I think it's an appalling travesty !
On 17 Dec 2009 at 12:33pm Bias wrote:
Totally agree, this has nothing to do with bonfire in Lewes or anywhere else in the country. The company provide displays all over the country and in other parts of the world for which they have won many awards. Are weddings, birthdays, corporate events and even New Year considered out dated.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with the verdict and sentence this case shoudl never have been heard in Lewes or East Sussex. There was too much feeling in both directions for this to be fair and you only have to read the local press and listen to the TV reports to know that they have the decision they wanted. Mr Wembridge through no fault of his own was a colleague and friend to many of them hence the biased reporting.
On the point of the people in charge of ESFRS, I think the sadest thing is that seeing the inteview with Mr Prithcard they really don't see they have done anything wrong. Nathan Winter was quoted as having said that if the fire gets close to that container you need to run quickly - presumably that did not get passed on to the firemen in close proximity of the container. Also given that there was no immediate danger to life why was there any attempt to put the fire out. surely the only thing that should have been done was to completely evacuate the area.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 12:39pm Humbug wrote:
In answer to Tosh in the last thread, I did not say that wood explodes. What I said was regardless of what was in the container, and regardless of whether it exploded come to that, there should have been nobody near the premises. The safety regulations are there because of the unpredictability of explosives, and the fact that the rest of the premises contained fireworks should have meant that the correct safety distances were observed IN ANY CASE. It wasnt the fact that the fireworks were illegal that made them explode, legal ones are equally as dangerous when the building they are in is on fire, and I am not sure what it is about that fact that some people are now, and on the day, finding so hard to grasp.
As I mentioned above meanwhile, no I do not know the Winters, and yes I am a member of a Bonfire Society, but what has that got to do with anything ? So are a good percentage of the town, or are you trying to say that being in a Bonfire Society means you are not entitled to an opinion ?
On 17 Dec 2009 at 12:53pm Johnno wrote:
Lewesboy. You do realise that you dont have to enjoy bonfire to live in Lewes dont you??
On 17 Dec 2009 at 1:02pm Chris wrote:
Thats a fair comment if I knew Wembridge or Wicker I would put all of the blame on the Winters and wish for them to be punished, I would never criticise the fire service. On the other hand if I knew the Winters I would feel that they have been really hard done by by the sentence. Since I know neither of them I am of the opinion that some blame lies with the Winters but not to the extent that they should be put in prison for 5+ years. Surely the punishment losing out on millions of pounds (lost business, lost house, no insurance payout etc.) is more than enough to teach them a lesson. Putting them in prison seems like they are using the Winters as an example to other companies and also to give the Widows of the Wembridge and Wicker a sense that justice has been done.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 1:17pm Not on anyones side wrote:
Chris said "Putting them in prison seems like they are using the Winters as an example to other companies and also to give the Widows of the Wembridge and Wicker a sense that justice has been done."
Exactly....and what is wrong with that.????...The Winters should have made it TOTALLY clear to the fire service that the container was packed with fireworks (illegally)...not given some vague comments like " if it catches fire run fast" or even worse " it is full of wood"...
Yes the sentences are long but they only have themselves to blame...how many other times had they stored fireworks illegally?? It was an accident waiting to happen...
On 17 Dec 2009 at 1:26pm Also Curious wrote:
I think the debate on here, and the length of time the jury took to reach a decision shows how finely balanced this case was. No illegally stored fireworks in the container, no deaths. No firemen on the scene, no deaths. Each "side" has a perfectly valid reason to blame the other for the tragic loss of life. The verdict doesn't mean only the Winters are to blame, and the fire service was criticised as well, just that the jury felt the Winters were enough to blame to convict them of manslaughter. Perhaps there should be another case made against the fire service as well, which might help bring changes to how these incidents are handled, but I don't see how that would help the Winters. There are no winners in this case. It really is a tragedy for everyone.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 1:27pm william wrote:
How much warning do the fire service need that there are fireworks on a fireworks factory? No-one should have gone onto the site, and a perimeter should have been set up.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 1:32pm Trumper wrote:
William you have missed the point totally, it was the fireworks in the container (illegal) that killed people....not the ones that were presumably correctly stored elsewhere..
On 17 Dec 2009 at 1:51pm Spanish4 wrote:
The Winters had made it TOTALLY clear to the fire service that the site contained explosive fireworks, they did this YEARS in advance of the fire when they applied for and received their license.
Part of the reason that the guidelines and procedures for dealing with fire at fireworks factories state that the firebrigade establish and maintain a 600 meter exclusion zone from the site is that it is widely known that during the day to day practice of manufacturing and supplying fireworks they are moved around and thus there maybe explosives located in places which are not strictly licensed for storage of such materials (for example there can be explosive components or manufactured fireworks being loaded or unloaded from transport such as vans and lorries). The procedure is quite clear, you maintain a 600m exclusion zone, this is big enough to allow for ISO container blasts and residual projectile fall out. Had these procedures been followed then nobody would of been killed.
The failure to follow procedure is what caused the deaths, if there had been nobody within 600 meters of the site then nobody would of been killed or injured. If the Winters had not stored fireworks in the container that exploded then MAYBE nobody would of died, however firefighter would CERTAINLY of been injured by other explosions that occurred in the legal storage areas. This is why the procedure is a 600 meter exclusion zone. It is the ONLY way to ensure that nobody is hurt fighting a fire at a fireworks factory.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 1:58pm Im getting bored... wrote:
Dear Spanish4,
Once again the point is missed...obviously the fire service knew there were fireworks there.....THEY DID NOT KNOW ABOUT THE ILLEGALLY STORED ONES IN THE CONTAINER!!!! Why else were these men convicted of manslaughter??????????????
Hope to God you are never asked to be on a jury...you don't know your arse from your elbow.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 2:59pm Spanish4 wrote:
The procedure for dealing with explosive fires is designed to cope with situations where unknown quantities of explosives may be stored in unknown locations. A 600 meter exclusion zone is established and maintained and the fire is let to run its course.
The fire service clearly knew there were fireworks on site, they clearly didn't follow procedure and that is why the 2 men are dead. Had the Winters not of stored fireworks illegally then the men MAY not be dead. Had the fire brigade followed the correct procedure then the men CERTAINLY would not be dead.
The manslaughter charge may or may not be correct, however given the absolute certainty of the above logic it is unfair that the Winters face this charge alone, when the fire service bosses who ordered their employees to disregard procedure should also be held to account.
On 17 Dec 2009 at 8:35pm reallysad wrote:
You are right in saying that the correct procedure would be to retreat to 600m if the quantities and locations are unkonwn. One reason for licensing a factory site is so that quantities and types are known, and you can legally store more fireworks in your garage than were allowed anywhere near where the fire crews were operating. Does that mean that you would advise fire crews not to fight a fire in your house just in case your neighbour is storing explosives he hasn't told anyone about? If this happens on a site where there is a licence, what happens if there is a fire near where fireworks are stored illegally and the fire service have no idea they are there? Should they stop fighting all fires just in case?
On 19 Dec 2009 at 12:50pm Humbug wrote:
I am a bit confused. It has been established that there sould have been a 600 metre perimiter set up around the firework store. That is a very long way. Just how far away from the legal store was the container ? Close enough for the fire to spread to it I am guessing, 30 - 40 metres perhaps ? If the men were 600 metres away, and even if they had not been told that there were fireworks in there they would still have been more than 550 metres away from the explosion. So whether they knew or not they should still have been nowhere near it. So I can't see how you can possibly justify the actions of the fire brigade on the grounds that they didn't know there were fireworks in that container, especially when it has already been established that Nathan Winter had in fact told them to keep clear of it.

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