Sat | Nov 17, 2018

Electrical short circuit caused fire at Walker's Place of Safety — Report

Published:Thursday | March 29, 2018 | 4:00 PMSyranno Baines

The long-awaited report on the fire at the Walker’s Place of Safety in St Andrew has indicated that the blaze was caused by an electrical short circuit that originated in a dorm on the first floor on the westside of the building.

The January 16 blaze destroyed the Lyndhurst Crescent facility, killing 12-year-old Anika McCrea and 16-year-old Annakay Moreland and displaced 34 other wards and their caregivers.

In a statement on Thursday afternoon, the Child Protection and Family Services Agency said the fire report stated that the blaze spread rapidly throughout the building, eventually engulfing the entire premises.

The agency said the report noted that this contributed to the roof collapsing.

It was further pointed out that the home was last inspected by the fire department on July 28, 2016, and at the time it was found to be compliant with standard fire prevention practices.

The agency said its own internal reports suggest that the actions of staff and wards on the night of the blaze played a significant role in reducing the loss of lives and injury.

The agency said following the fire, based on recommendations and a directive from Prime Minister Andrew Holness, it commissioned Physical Security Inspection and Assessments for all government and private-run child care facilities, which have been completed.

It further stated that it is to recertify the facilities noting that the agency has met with the Government Electrical Inspectorate.

The Walker's Place of Safety was a transitional residence for children, generally up to 12-years-old, who have been abandoned or removed from their homes because of unstable conditions.

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