Drying mop heads blamed for Northern Trust’s Road complex fire in Ballymoney

Drying mop heads have been blamed for a fire in the laundry room at the Northern Trust’s Route complex in Ballymoney, members of the Trust’s board have been told.

The board agreed to waive the £52,000 cost of equipment damage at a meeting on Thursday morning.

Members were told that replacing the roof would cost nearly £700,000.

The Trust’s executive director of nursing and user experience, Suzanne Pullins, told the meeting that the machines had broken down and the mop heads had dried “in a different way”.

She stressed that this was not a “derogation from any procedure”.

Ms Pullins praised a “committed group of staff”, who she said had worked to secure a supply of linen following the fire.

The Coleraine Road facility had the capacity to process 47,000 items of laundry and scrubs per week.

Glenn Houston, Board Member, commented, “Looks like a major fire. I just want to know if all the fire prevention measures have been taken.

The general manager said the alarm was given by the nearby ambulance depot.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said the alarm went off at 3.40am on July 11.

Fire apparatus attended Ballymoney, Coleraine and Portrush. Three crews took nearly two and a half hours to bring the fire under control.

The NIFRS said the cause was “accidental ignition”.

The Trust’s Acting Director of Integrated Care and Partnerships, Paddy Graffin, said it was an older building and the structure was ‘not as secure’ as designed to the new standards.

A new facility, he said, would be “designed to all current standards.”

A report presented to the board previously indicated an overall cost of £1.3 million for building repairs, roofing and new machinery.

The report states: ‘The fire damaged washing machines and extensive damage to the building, including the roof.

“Following the fire and to ensure continuity of service, the laundry team had to move to temporary premises on the Causeway Hospital site as well as sub-contract the work to a private contractor and several other trusts in the region.

“Repair work at the Route complex which allowed part of the laundry team to return to site and get laundry and linen washing up and running again.

“The main central area of ​​the building used for folding and packaging is not operationally safe. Machines damaged by fire must be replaced.

“The fire damage to the roof has impacted laundry supply at the Route complex, which is having a ripple effect on the supply of laundry, linens and scrubs across the Trust.

“The temporary premises on the Causeway site are not suitable and the staff work in cramped conditions.

“Unfortunately we have been unable to find any other suitable premises to facilitate the laundry operation in the wider Ballymoney, Coleraine area.”

The report also stated: “There will be a lower risk of infection of patients/users and contamination of scrubs and linen due to reduced contact with cages, vans and storage, with all laundry processes being on a single site.