A JURY tasked with deciding whether a Nuneaton fire boss is guilty of manslaughter over the deaths of four men in a warehouse blaze are to continue their deliberations today.
They retired yesterday after failing to reach a verdict over the fate of Adrian Ashley from Manor Court Road and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service colleague Timothy Woodward from Leamington.
Mr Ashley, who is 45, and 51-year-old Mr Woodward are charged with gross negligence manslaughter over the deaths of four fellow firefighters in a massive blaze in Atherstone on Stour in November 2007.
Both men deny the charges at a trial which has been taking place at Stafford Crown Court for the past six weeks.
The case against fellow watch commander Paul Simmons was sensationally thrown out earlier this month when he was acquitted.
Union bosses have already reacted to the acquittal and say they are waiting on the verdict for the two other men with interest.
Fire Brigade Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: "We all need to know what happened so that lessons can be learned and we can try to ensure such tragedies are avoided in the future."
He added: "Four firefighters died in tragic and terrible circumstances. We have a duty to the families of those who died, their colleagues and firefighters across the UK - who are still going into burning buildings - to learn lessons and to make our work as safe as it can be in the very hazardous and hostile environments that we work in."
Four firefighters, 20-year-old Ashley Stephens, 27-year-old John Averis, 24-year-old Darren Yates-Badley and 44-yearold Ian Reid lost their lives in the massive warehouse blaze at a vegetable packing plant.
As reported in the Nuneaton News, Warwickshire County Council have already pleaded guilty to a health and safety charge over the deaths.
The authority, which is responsible for operating the fire service, entered a limited plea at Wolverhampton Crown Court.