On New Year's Eve, a devastating fire broke out at the Shurgard storage unit on Purley Way, Croydon between 7pm and 8pm. By 10am on New Year's Day the entire building had been gutted by the fire and raised to the ground.
The storage facility contained 1198 units and every customers' possessions were utterly destroyed. Hundreds of families moving house or relocating abroad, lost all their worldly possessions. Hundreds of people lost their most precious belongings, so many irreplaceable objects, representing their only ties to their deceased relatives, family history and ancestry all gone. Many businesses and people's lively-hoods, run out of their units, devastated with thousands of pounds worth of stock destroyed, causing many to go bankrupt.
This fire has destroyed lives, devastated everyone involved, some already dealing with hardship and bereavement, and severely set back the lives of families trying to get on in the world.
It is clear from the events leading up to the fire, the incident itself, and what has become evident since, that Shurgard have made a catalogue of errors that must be addressed. The people involved in this tragedy, deserve to be treated fairly, and deserve justice.
WHAT WE KNOW:
- There were no sprinkler systems anywhere in the building. Had they been installed these would have been able to either control or suppress the fire until the fire brigade arrived
- There were no Shurgard staff onsite at the time of the fire. Customers have access from 7am to 11pm each day yet Shurgard staff only work standard office hours. There is no overnight security and therefore no one to raise an alarm or operate fire extinguishers. On New Year's Eve the staff finished at 4.30pm
- Individual units were not enclosed but had cavities above the walls, allowing flames to spread quickly from one unit to the next. There were no internal 'sub' fire walls within each floor which could have helped contain a fire – it was 'open plan' by design
- Shurgard actively marketed their warehouses, across all social media channels, as being a secure home for your most personal possessions – family heirlooms, photo albums, unique artwork, your collection of books, records and other collectables and yet their terms and conditions explicitly contradict this by stating that "art objects, collection pieces or irreplaceable objects, objects with an emotional or special value" are forbidden (These were not verbally disclosed nor provided in store – only available online).
- In addition, many customers were mis-sold insurance by untrained members of staff who didn't understand the policies themselves.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
That Shurgard catastrophically failed to provide a duty of care and are guilty of gross negligence. We are going to do everything in our power to hold them to account.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR
• Met with Steve Reed - Croydon North MP, Councillor Manju Shahul-Hameed, Croydon Council Cabinet member for Economy and Jobs and Rick Patterson of Croydon Council Building Control Department
• Two customers were interviewed on BBC 1's national Victoria Derbyshire show, alongside Steve Reed MP, and Duncan Bell from Shurgard. https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bxbssw/victoria-derbyshire-07012019
• Fight for Shurgard to address us as a customer group with the support of Steve Reed MP
• Obtain the final reports from the fire brigade and police team including timeline clarification
• Gathering urgent financial and legal advice and support
• Organise counselling support – thank you Mind & Talking Therapies
• Keep supporting each other!
Shurgard have not addressed us as a customer group since an email on January 4th. We deserve, not just answers but compassion, respect and compensation for their failures.
We would be very grateful for your support and solidarity in signing this petition.