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MoD criticised over fire deaths

THE Ministry of Defence has been criticised for "failures" by the coroner at an inquest into the deaths of two soldiers whose tent was engulfed in flames while they were asleep at Camp Bastion.

Privates Rob Wood, 28, and Dean Hutchinson, 23, were killed when the blaze swept through their tent at the military base in Afghanistan three years ago.

Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner David Ridley listed seven "contributory factors" to the deaths of the two Royal Logistic Corps soldiers during his lengthy narrative conclusion after the 10-day hearing in Salisbury.

He described the failures as either "systemic failures" or "failures" and said he would be making a report preventing further deaths.

The MoD now has 56 days to reply in writing, giving details of actions that have been taken or are proposed to be taken, or an explanation as to why no action will be taken to prevent future similar deaths.

The family of Pte Hutchinson, from Spennymoor, County Durham condemned the Army's "incompetence" and said he should not have lost his life in the way he did.

And Pte Wood's family, from Bexhill on Sea, Sussex said they hoped the MoD had "learned lessons".

The Army said changes had been made since the incident.

A spokesman said: "A number of improvements have been made to fire safety procedures since 2011 but we will study the coroner's recommendations to ensure everything is being done to reduce the risk to personnel."

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