Sprinkler system to be installed following fire at Campsfield immigration centre

Dave Etherbridge

Dave Etherbridge

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

A SPRINKLER system is to be installed at a blaze damaged Kidlington immigration centre after concerns from a fire chief.

The Home Office said it would fit the system as part of repairs to Campsfield House after the October 19 blaze.

The fire in one of three blocks at the Langford Lane centre saw more than 100 detainees moved to other centres.

Two were injured but all have now returned.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service chief fire officer Dave Etheridge, right, urged the Home Office to install sprinklers in 2007.

He said the extent of October’s fire would have been less had the system been fitted.

Home Office spokesman Sally Henfield said: “We take the welfare of detainees extremely seriously and comply with all the relevant fire safety legislation.

“The decision to install additional fire safety equipment at Campsfield House follows advice from the chief fire officer.”

Mr Etheridge welcomed the news.

He added: “We really welcome this announcement from the Home Office which will not only provide a much safer environment for detainees within Campsfield House and the staff who run it, but also reduce significantly the risks to firefighters responding to any future incidents.”

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The news was announced in the Commons last week by Minister for Immigration Mark Harper following a question from Oxford West and Abingdon Conservative MP Nicola Blackwood.

He said: “Following the recent fire at Campsfield House Immigration Centre installation of sprinklers will be included in the refit planned to complete in April.”

The centre opened in November 1993 and takes up to 216 male detainees pending their case resolutions and subsequent removal from the UK.

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