A UK Housing Association has been fined £40,000 for breaking fire safety laws following a fatal blaze in a Deptford tower block in which two women died.

Lewisham Homes was sentenced after pleading guilty to failing to properly maintain fire doors and failing to review an existing fire risk assessment.

In sentencing, the Judge said the prosecution should act as a “wake up call” to the risks of not maintaining fire safety features in residential high rise buildings.

He also stated that the fine would have been considerably higher had the Housing Association not been a not-for-profit organisation.

Lewisham Homes is an Arms Length Management Organisation, which manages a significant proportion of the housing stock owned by the London Borough of Lewisham.

More than 100 firefighters were called to the fire in Deptford which started in a flat on the 16th floor.  Crews rescued two women from a flat on the same floor but both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The fire was started deliberately by a resident in one the flats, who was subsequently prosecuted and convicted of two counts of manslaughter.

An investigation by fire safety officers revealed serious safety failings relating to the failure to maintain fire doors, which directly contributed to the spread of the fire.

The flat in which the fire had started was fitted with a metal security door which prevented the existing fire door behind it from being closed.

The severity of the fire and the lack of protection between the flat where the fire started and the building’s communal areas meant that fire and smoke rapidly entered both the lobby and the adjacent flat in which the two women who died were trapped.