Mother and son sentenced following fire safety breaches in Morecambe Club

Gordon Club in Morecambe Download Image

Burnt out room in Gordon ClubToday, Monday 23 January, Callum and Heather Goffin have been sentenced following a breach of 19 articles of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order at the Gordon’s Working Men’s Club in Morecambe.

Heather Goffin was found guilty of 13 charges and sentenced to 8 months imprisonment whilst Callum Goffin was found guilty of 6 charges. Callum was given a six-month sentence, which was suspended for 12 months, and given 200 hours community order.

On 9 October 2019, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a serious fire which led to the tragic deaths of John McCartney and Phillip Townsend, otherwise known as Tony.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, fire investigators discovered a significant number of breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. The most serious included a failure to identify and control the risks associated with a fan heater using LPG bottled gas, and the inability to safely evacuate the building due to an external security door being locked, preventing the inner fire exit from fully opening.

Area Manager for Prevention and Protection, Matthew Hamer said:

“First and foremost, the thoughts of everyone at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service are with the families and friends of John and Tony, who lost their lives in this tragic fire.

“Visiting any premises should be a safe activity and no-one should be in a position where their lives are at risk because fire safety isn’t treated as a priority. The fire safety failings at the Gordon Club were extremely serious and led to the deaths of both John and Tony.”

All businesses must ensure that where fire exits are fitted with security measures, these do not prevent people from leaving safely in the event of an emergency.

With the increasing costs of trading, businesses are facing more financial pressures. It is understandable that many business owners are making changes to save money. These changes may mean reducing staff, making alternative heating arrangements, or changing how building interiors are laid out or used.

Despite the rising cost of trading and the difficulties for businesses – fire safety remains vital. It’s extremely important to consider how any changes impact the fire safety of employees, customers, and visitors, and ensure any risk are considered before they are done.

Area Manager Matthew Hamer adds:

“I would encourage business owners and responsible persons to visit our website www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk or call one of our business safety advisors, where advice and guidance can be provided during these challenging times.

“Finally, I would like to thank our colleagues in Lancashire Police, our dedicated team of fire safety inspectors, business safety advisors, and investigators, who have worked tirelessly to bring these two individuals to account.”

Lisa McCartney, the daughter of John McCartney, said:

“My mum and I are pleased with the custodial sentence that was passed today. We’ve waited a long for it and now we can try and comprehend what we’ve lost. My dad was vulnerable and died in a terrible way. We just hope lessons are learnt from this and we can pick ourselves up from it.”

Kelly Carr, the daughter of Tony Townsend, added:

“We have waited a long time for this result. We are grateful for the dedication by the police and then the Lancashire Fire Service for getting this to court. The fire service secured this custodial sentence as they could evidence how horrific these circumstances where and how dangerous it was. My dad, Tony, a grandfather and great grandfather should not have died that day. He should have been able to get out. A custodial sentence is the only one that fits and reflects the seriousness of the multiple breaches of health and safety.”