Inspector raised concerns after UEA fires

Firefighters at the scene of the fire in a chemistry laboratory at the UEA. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Firefighters at the scene of the fire in a chemistry laboratory at the UEA. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

A fire service inspector served an enforcement notice against the University of East Anglia after smoke from a fire in a launderette spread to an escape staircase, it has emerged.

An inspector from Norfolk Fire Service visited the launderette within a few hours of the fire on December 5, and issued the notice for breach of the UEA's legal requirements in relation to the medical centre.

A spokesman for the UEA said: 'The small launderette fire which took place in the early hours identified the need to improve fire separation measures in the building to avoid the danger of smoke spreading. We have also upgraded the fire detection and inspection regime.'

Separately, an inspector raised concerns about the UEA's management of flammable and chemical substances following a fire in the chemistry laboratory on October 21, which saw part of the campus cordoned off for several hours.

A spokesman for the UEA said: 'This very small fire highlighted the need for a centralised chemical inventory for individual laboratories. We have developed a robust online database, to help avoid protracted evacuations where we can be sure that the contents of labs do not present a heightened risk.

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'We have refreshed plans for rest areas across campus and for rotating cordon staff, when incidents are more drawn out.'

Information about the inspections was included in a health and safety report circulated to members of the university's council last month.

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The spokesman added: 'These are rare occurrences and staff and students were not at serious risk. There will often be lessons to be gained from a thorough review and we are grateful for the fire service's involvement. They are satisfied with the measures that have been taken.'

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