Sophie was returning home after a night out in August 2012 when she witnessed her building on fire. She rushed inside to alert her fiancé who was in their apartment. She collapsed due to the smoke and later died in hospital. The Coroner told the inquest that Sophie’s death could have been avoided if a self-closing fire door had not become stuck which prevented it from closing eﬀectively.
Government statistics have already revealed that not only do 80% of all fire-related fatalities occur in dwellings – with 39,139 such fires and 260 deaths between 2013-14 – but, according to West Midlands Fire & Rescue Service (WMFRS) figures, people living in rented or shared accommodation are seven times more likely to have a fire.
The WMFRS numbers also revealed that a 81% of university students are reported to regularly undertake activities that pose a fire risk in their accommodation. Some 514 fires were recorded in student accommodation in Great Britain in 2012.
The shortcomings of fire safety provision in student accommodation were tragically exposed in the case of Sophie Rosser. An inquest heard that her death could have been avoided if a self-closing fire door, which became stuck on the warped ﬂoor, had closed properly.