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Complainant Name:
Mr Bernard Kirkham

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Isle of Thanet Gazette

Complaint:

Bernard Kirkham of Kent complained about an article which reported on a fire in the flat he rented to tenants. He said that the account given by the tenant inaccurately suggested that the fire had been caused by an electrical problem and that the fire brigade had had to tackle it “throughout the night”. He provided the fire report from the incident which gave the cause of the fire as a “discarded cigarette” and gave the time taken to put the fire under control as seventeen minutes. He raised concerns that the facts should have been checked with the fire service before the article was published.

Resolution:

The newspaper published a clarification with the following wording:

"In an article on 21st December last year entitled Saved by a Mother’s Love we reported that the cause of a fire at a house in Milton Avenue, Margate, was an electrical problem and that fire crew had tackled the blaze “throughout the night”. In fact, the fire service report has shown the cause to have been a discarded cigarette and that the fire was under control in under twenty minutes.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service offers free home fire safety checks which take around 30 minutes and offers a wide range of advice from electrical safety, escape routes and cooking safely. This service includes fitting a free 10 year smoke alarm where necessary to book an appointment call the community safety team on 0800 923 7000".

The newspaper also made a private acknowledgement to the complainant that it should have checked the tenant’s account with the fire service prior to publication. The complaint was resolved on that basis.

Report: 77



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