Fire Risk Assessment Fines - 2011 Archive

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2011 archive of fire risk assessment fines issued under the Fire Safety Order 2005.


Furniture company fined £12,000

A furniture company has been ordered to pay more than £12,000 after pleading guilty to numerous breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

Showhouse Furniture Ltd in Newmarket and two of its directors, Edward Babington and Francois Guillambert, pleaded guilty to 12 offences at Bury St Edmunds magistrates court on Thursday 27th October 2011.

An investigation following a fire in October 2010 at the warehouse found a number of ‘safety critical’ fire safety breaches. They included the complete obstruction of the fire exits within the warehouse, no fire risk assessment, poor housekeeping, no reliable means for raising the alarm in the event of a fire, no maintenance of fire safety systems, and a lack of emergency lighting.

According to Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, the inspecting officer was so concerned about the safety of the company’s employees that he considered prohibiting the use of the warehouse. It was only due to the staff undertaking immediate and sufficient remedial work that the premises remained open for trading.

“I hope that this case will highlight the importance of compliance with fire safety regulations,” said Suffolk county councillor and portfolio holder for public protection, Colin Spence. “When employees are placed at serious risk, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service will take appropriate and proportionate action.” Source: Info4Fire

HMO landlord pays £20,000

The manager of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) has been ordered to pay more than £20,000 for breaching fire safety provisions of occupancy legislation.

Abdul Bashir was the licence holder and manager of a four-storey property in Prince of Wales Road, Norwich. The 53-year-old worked at the Prince of India restaurant on the ground floor and members of staff lived above the restaurant.

An inspection carried out by Norwich City Council on 9 February 2011 found that Mr Bashir had failed to comply with fire safety provisions under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006. He failed to: ensure the means of escape from fire in the HMO was kept free from obstruction; maintain in good order and repair all means of escape from a fire; ensure that fire alarms were in good working order; and ensure that the common parts of the first floor were reasonably clear from obstruction.

After the case, Otis Hernandez, private sector housing officer for Norwich City Council, said: “The result sends out an important message to people that the council will take action against those whose negligence puts others at risk. That a fine so close to the maximum was handed out demonstrates the seriousness of these offences.” Source: Info4Fire

Former resturant owner fined £12,000

A former restaurant owner has been ordered to pay more than £15,000 after allowing his staff to live in dangerous conditions.

Ibrahim Sultan Miyah of St Albans, Hertfordshire, appeared before Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on 7 October 2011 and pleaded guilty to breaching prohibition orders after previously entering a not guilty plea at a hearing in July. Miyah was fined £12,000 for the breaches, under the Housing Act 2004, and ordered to pay costs of £3,500.

An investigation by Cambridge City Council housing standard officers, found that restaurant staff above the Calcutta Club in Mill Road, Cambridge, were continuing to live in unsuitable conditions despite previous assurances from Miyah that this would not be the case. Miyah had previously been convicted for the same offence in December 2010.

In the event of a fire, the occupants of the first floor rooms would have been expected to escape through the ground floor restaurant and open kitchen or to jump from the first floor windows. Source: Info4Fire

Suspended prison sentence for building owner

A London building owner has been given a six month suspended prison sentence after being convicted of seven offences under the Fire Safety Order.

Saif Ahmed was sentenced on 14 September after being found guilty of four offences at a trial at Tower Bridge magistrates’ court on 1 June 2011. Mr Ahmed had already admitted three other offences at an earlier hearing. He was also sentenced to 150 hours of community service and told to pay over £13,000 in costs.

Fire safety officers visited his property in Camberwell Church Street on 9 December 2009. The basement and ground floors of the building are used as a takeaway restaurant, while the first, second and third floors were being used as sleeping accommodation with five bedrooms.

Officers found a range of fire safety breaches on the upper floors of the building. These included having no fire alarm or emergency lighting; the bedroom doors were not fire resistant or self closing; the staircase from the ground to second floor was not fire protected; and there was no alternative means of escape from the sleeping accommodation. The inspectors also found no evidence of an emergency plan and that no fire risk assessment had been carried out. Source: Info4Fire

Takeaway owner pleads guilty

The owner of a takeaway shop has had to pay almost £12,000 in fines after pleading guilty to five breaches of the Fire Safety Order

Iskender Anik, owner of the Istanbul Grill in Eastleigh, appeared at Southampton magistrates court on 1 September, where he pleaded guilty to breaching a prohibition order by allowing sleeping in accommodation above the shop. He also pleaded guilty to having no adequate means of giving warning in case of fire, inadequate protection to means of escape, inadequate provision of emergency lighting and failure to maintain fire resisting separation between the ground floor and first floor.

He was fined £3,300 for breaching the prohibition order and £2,100 for each of the remaining four offences.

Area manager Mick Crennell of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said:

“We will continue to protect our communities through a robust risk management process that identifies the areas of highest risk and takes necessary steps to ensure their continued safety. Prohibition orders are only issued in the most severe circumstances, to prevent a risk of death or serious injury in the event of a fire; breaching these orders can have very serious consequences.” Source: Info4Fire

£5,000 for hotel manager

A hotel manager has been ordered to pay £5,000 in fines and costs for failing to comply with an enforcement notice.

James Knappette, the former manager of Kedleston Country Hotel, near Derby, pleaded guilty at Derbyshire Magistrates Court last month. He was fined £3,000 with £2,000 costs.

Inadequate emergency lighting and fire doors were among the problems that led to Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service issuing an enforcement notice on 28 August 2009.

Group manager Steve Wells, said: "People who own and manage hotels are under a high duty of care to their guests. This is because those staying there are unfamiliar with the layout of the hotel and will be entirely reliant on the fire safety measures provided by the owners and operators to make sure that they can get out safely in the event of a fire. Wherever we find that people's lives are being put at risk from inadequate fire precautions, we will not hesitate to issue enforcement notices and, if these are not complied with, take action through the courts. The decision by the magistrates to impose a fine and costs totalling £5,000 demonstrate they also take this issue seriously." Source: Info4Fire

Fire Risk Assessor and Hotel Manager Jailed

Fire Risk Assessments - an important lesson from Nottingham. Licensees are required to undertake a Fire Risk Assessment and, in the case of an operator of two hotels in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, sub-contracting the work to a company, Mansfield Fire Protection Service, was not deemed to abrogate him from the subsequent responsibility when the Fire Service found that emergency lighting was inadequate, exit routes were blocked and an emergency exit was found to be locked.

Both the hotelier and his advisor were prosecuted and, though there had been no injuries, fires, etc. both were sentenced to eight months imprisonment and had to pay costs totalling some £21,000.

Death trap landlord ordered to pay £42000

Mohammed Javaid pleaded guilty to 20 safety offences at Manchester Magistrates Court on 6 July. He was fined £33,750 and ordered to pay £8,500 in court costs. Out of the offences, 17 were for contraventions of housing law, while three were breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

Officers found that there was a failure to carry out a fire risk assessment. They also found that there had been a failure to provide a suitable alarm as well as fire door maintenance in communal areas. Out of 16 flats that Mr Javaid owned, authorities took action over six.

City council officers visited the flats, two of which were unoccupied, last August, and found problems including dangerous electrical wiring, a missing fire door and cables dangling from the ceiling where smoke alarms should have been. In one property, there were no working lights in the basement and a tenant said she had to regularly visit the cellar, walking past live electric cables at shoulder height, to flick fuses back on.

The property was described to be in such bad condition that the council served an emergency prohibition order immediately.Mr Javaid was then expected to close the premises and arrange new accommodation for his tenants. Instead, he kept the flats open and even moved more tenants into them. Source: Info4Fire

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HMO Landlord pays £17,000

A landlord has pleaded guilty to five offences under the Fire Safety Order after a fire at his property in Walsall.

Pervaiz Khan was fined £9,000 and ordered to pay £8,166 in costs when he appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court on 8 July.

Following a fire in January 2009 at his property in Birmingham Road, which consisted of a converted house used as a HMO, investigators found that Mr Khan had failed to take general precautions to ensure the premises were safe. He had also failed to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment, or equip the property with a fire alarm.

Arriving to tackle the blaze, firefighters found people still sleeping in the premises. A subsequent investigation revealed there was no fire alarm installed, no emergency lighting and a lack of fire resisting material to the single staircase. Source: Info4Fire

Hotel manager fined for twice breaching fire safety prohibition notice

Nick Shipton, working at the Hertford House Hotel, pleaded guilty at Hertford Magistrates Court on 18 July. He was fined £4,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,346 for breaching the Fire Safety Order on two separate occasions in December last year.

During this time, the hotel had a marquee in place over the patio area to allow for extra dining over the Christmas period. The alleyway from the rear patio area was the designated escape route in case of fire in the hotel. However, a prohibition notice was served on 2 December, to ensure the alleyway was kept clear and secure for public safety.

Just over a week later, Hertfordshire fire crews noticed combustible items were being stored in the alleyway and carried out an inspection.Unsecured wheelie bins lined the alleyway and blocked the exit. These were cleared at the time and the hotel manager was reminded of the notice. However, on 16 December a duty fire officer visited the premises and again found rubbish and wheelie bins blocking the escape route. Source: Info4Fire

Building managers fined £100,000

The managing agent of a block of flats in London has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay almost £13,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaches of fire safety law.

Douglas and Gordon Ltd pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Fire Safety Order at Southwark crown court on 29 June. The leasehold owner of the premises in Gloucester Terrace, Paddington, Atomlynn Ltd, was fined £33,000 after pleading guilty to one offence under the Order and ordered to pay costs of £6,440.

Following a fire in one of the flats, London Fire Brigade carried out an audit of the communal areas. Officers found a number of fire safety breaches which included a failure to install a fire alarm system and a failure to ensure that the electrical intake cupboard was locked.

A fire risk assessment had been carried out but the managing agent and leaseholder had failed to act on its significant findings, said London Fire Brigade. These included the failure to make an emergency plan, ensuring that fire doors were self-closing and installing emergency lighting.

Assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation, Steve Turek, said: “London Fire Brigade will continue to take action against managing agents, lease owners or landlords who do not take their fire safety responsibilities seriously. Failure to comply with the law can, as this case has shown, result in a prosecution.”

Asylum centre fined £10,000

A company running a hostel for asylum seekers has been ordered to pay more than £10,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to two offences under the Fire Safety Order. Angel Services (UK) Ltd was convicted of failing to review and keep up to date a fire risk assessment for the Angel Lodge hostel in Wakefield, and failing to maintain the detection and alarm system.

Wakefield Magistrates Court heard that the only way to raise the alarm at the hostel would have been to shout ‘fire’, but many of the residents did not speak English. Prosecuting, Sarah Dimmock of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said the maintenance manager at hostel had told the company about a fault in the detection and alarm system on eight separate occasions.

She said that normally only one member of staff was on duty at night for 220 residents. Had a fire occurred, the fact that the alarm was not working would have been “disastrous”.

“Alerting residents by word of mouth by shouting ‘fire’ would have been the only option and could have resulted in panic,” she told the court. District Judge Marie Mallon fined the company £6,600 (£3,300 for each offence) and ordered it to pay £4,445 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. Source: Info4Fire

£3,000 fine for Indian restaurant

The owner of an Indian restaurant in Gloucester has pleaded guilty to ten breaches of the Fire Safety Order (2005) and been ordered to pay £1,900 in fines.

Breaches at the Connoisseur Tandoori Restaurant included the staff using the top floors as unauthorised sleeping accommodation.  The offences came to light following a fire and subsequent investigation at the property on 6 November 2009. Appearing at Gloucester Magistrates Court on 17 June, owner Abdul Hamid Choudhury, 46, was also ordered to pay out another £1,500 in costs plus a £15 surcharge.

Investigators found that the ground floor partition and glazing between the restaurant and escape route were not fire resisting, and neither was the ground floor door between the restaurant and escape route. Employees were not provided with fire safety training, nor had a fire risk assessment been completed. There were also no fire alarm and smoke detectors fitted in the accommodation, and emergency lighting was not provided in the sleeping accommodation escape route.

The walls of the staircase enclosure had been lined with laminate wood flooring, three bedroom doors on the first floor were not fire resisting, a kitchen was situated within the second floor escape route and the second floor laundry room door was not fire resisting. Group manager Richard Smith, at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue service, said: "If a fire risk assessment had been carried out, it would have identified the measures required to make the premises safe such as a fire alarm, emergency lighting, fire doors and staff training." Source: Info4Fire

£4,000 fine for building breaches landlord

A landlord found guilty of breaching the Building Act 1984 had also failed to comply with a number of fire safety regulations. Javid Iqbal had converted the upstairs of a public house into flats without applying for consent.

Appearing at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on 19 April, he was fined £3,350 and ordered to pay £899 in costs as well as a £15 victim surcharge. Mr Iqbal had failed to fit the flats above the Windmill Pub, in Peterborough, with fire doors and adequate smoke alarms. There were also inadequate means of escape and emergency lighting.

The breaches came to light following a serious blaze at the property in September last year. An electrical fire that started on the ground floor spread, trapping an adult and a baby upstairs. Source: Info4Fire

£8,000 fine for fire safety failings at flats

A landlord of a block of flats has pleaded guilty to five contraventions of the Fire Safety Order (2005). Appearing at York Crown Court for sentencing on 17 May following a hearing last month at Scarborough magistrates court, Ewan McFerren was ordered to pay £5,500 in fines and £2,400 in costs.

The breaches came to light following a serious fire at 14 New Queen Street, in Scarborough. Fire investigators found he had failed to take general fire precautions and that there was an inadequate fire risk assessment, as well as a lack of fully functioning fire alarm and fire detection system. There was also a failure to maintain general fire provisions and a serious and imminent danger to tenants due to a lack of information about fire safety procedures, the court heard.

Karen Galloway, prosecuting, said: “The fire and rescue service’s decision to prosecute was not taken lightly and this measure is only taken in the most serious cases. The responsible person is always in a position of authority; their lack of actions should have been foreseeable to prevent, in the event of fire, persons being put at risk of death or injury. Source: Info4Fire

Company pays £142,000 after Penhallow Hotel fatal fire

The company that owned the Penhallow Hotel in Newquay where three people died in a fire in August 2007 has been fined £80,000 for breaching fire safety legislation and ordered to pay £62,000 in costs.

Welcoming the fine, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said: “Our decision to proceed with a prosecution, which was taken after a comprehensive investigation into the fire precautions at the hotel, reflects the seriousness of this case. We hope that today’s sentence will send out a very clear message to the hotel and leisure industry where sleeping accommodation is provided of the importance of adhering to fire safety legislation and ensuring the management of fire precautions is a high priority.”

Commenting on the conviction and fine, a statement from O & C Holdsworth said: "The fire at the Penhallow Hotel in August 2007 was a tragedy and we continue to express our deepest sympathies to all those that have been affected. As a family business with a long history in hotel management everyone at the company has been devastated by what happened. Following the fire we immediately initiated a comprehensive review of our health and safety and fire safety procedures at our other hotels and have strengthened the company guidelines and working practices to ensure full compliance." Source: Info4Fire

Landlord pays £158,000 after tenants flee from blaze

Joseph Ernest Draper, then owner of 9 Hillsborough Terrace, in Ilfracombe, Devon, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Fire Safety Order 2005. Appearing at Exeter Crown Court on 29 March, Mr Draper was ordered to pay a total of £135,000 in fines and £23,000 in costs.

It follows a fire at the four-storey building on 14 February 2008. The building had been subdivided into flats. The fire, which started on the ground floor, spread throughout the property and forced some of the 13 tenants to make their escape by clambering over the roof. Source: Info4Fire

Blatant contravention of prohibition order

A London landlord has been ordered to pay out thousands of pounds after putting tenants’ lives in danger. Adrian Francis Lasrado was prosecuted under the Housing Act  in connection with a second-floor property on London Road, Hackbridge, Sutton, which had been converted into a self-contained flat.
The layout was so badly done there was no safe means of escape if there was a fire, according to Sutton Council. This prompted the council's environmental health officers to impose a prohibition order banning people from living at the flat. Source: Info4Fire

£4,500 fine for Stockton on Tees landlord

A landlord has been forced to pay £1,000 in fines and £3,246 in costs for letting his property out after being served with a prohibition notice. Steven Russell, of Courtyard Hotel, in Stockton on Tees, pleaded guilty at Teesside Magistrates Court for failure to comply with a prohibition notice.

Barry Waller, head of fire engineering for the service, said: “The prohibition notice was served in November 2009 following several audits and inspections during which Cleveland Fire Brigade had attempted to encourage Mr Russell to bring fire safety measures within the premises up to the required standard.

“It related to the use of the third and fourth floors and in effect it rendered them unusable until further safety measures were implemented. After receiving information that the upper storeys were being used to accommodate guests, a further inspection of the premises by Cleveland on 13 October 2010, revealed that the third floor bedrooms were indeed in use as guest sleeping accommodation without remedial action having been instigated.” Source: Info4Fire

Blackburn hostel owner pays out £4,500

A hostel owner has been found guilty of fire safety breaches after a fatal fire at his premises. Sajed Hussain, 33, was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs at Preston Crown Court on Monday (14 March.)

The fire at the Devonshire Hotel, in Bridge Street, Blackburn, 2008, led to the death of Paul Barker. Mr Barker had been smoking in his room at the time, according to local press.

While the prosecution found no causal link between the failures and the fatality, the fire highlighted an inappropriate evacuation procedure, among other offences.

Joe Hart, prosecuting, said: "It is impossible to say, if the evacuation had been speedier, whether Mr Barker would have survived. Accordingly, the Crown cannot say there is a causal link between the failure admitted and his death.” Source: Info4Fire

Restaurant owner pleads guilty after taping cling film over detectors

The joint-proprietor of a Thai restaurant in Wokingham has pleaded guilty to 12 breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

Patipat Kansikam, who was a joint proprietor of the Red Lion (Pad Thai), appeared at Bracknell Crown Court on 9 March.

The building, which was used as sleeping accommodation for the restaurant’s staff, had an inadequate fire alarm system and blocked fire escape routes.

Fire safety investigators also found cling film taped over fire detectors. In addition, there was no adequate fire risk assessment or fire evacuation training in place, while the fire escape routes were obstructed by combustible storage. Source: Info4Fire

Suspended prison sentence for restaurant fire safety breaches

The owner of a south Wales restaurant has been sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and 250 hours community service after being convicted of 13 offences under the Fire Safety Order.

Abdul Kadir, owner of the Raj Gate restaurant in Cwmbran, pleaded guilty to the offences at Cardiff Crown Court on 25 February. He had previously pleading not guilty at Caerphilly Magistrates’ Court on the 24th March 2010, where he elected to be tried by jury. Mr Kadir was also ordered to pay £5,300 in costs.

The prosecution followed an inspection of the restaurant by fire safety officers as far back as August 2008. The premises included sleeping accommodation for staff.

The inspection identified several breaches of fire safety legislation including inadequate provision of escape routes, a defective fire alarm system, obstruction of escape routes, no fire evacuation training for staff, and an inadequate emergency lighting system. Source: Info4Fire

Watford landlord fined £20,000

Watford Magistrates' Court has handed a £20,000 fine to a landlord from north-west London after he breached fire safety regulations by not carrying out a fire risk assessment.

Hitesh Mashru, from Northwood, near Uxbridge, was charged after a fire in one of his properties destroyed two flats in the Hertfordshire town of Bushey in April last year, according to the Uxbridge Gazette. In not carrying out a fire risk assessment for his house of multiple occupancy (HMO), Mr Mashru was in direct contravention of the Fire Safety Order.

The law states that if a full and sufficient FRA is not carried out on an HMO or commercial property, the Responsible Person can face a fine or up to two years in jail. The court heard that the landlord also did not ensure the safety of the electrical supply and failed to install proper fire safety equipment, such as a smoke detector or fire doors. Source: FIA

Property management firm fined £7,800

Property management company Boaden Hindmarsh Ltd has been fined more than £7,800 for breaching the Fire Safety Order.

Director Michael Boaden pleaded guilty to four charges on behalf of the Jesmond-based company at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on 14 February.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service brought the charges after the company failed to correct a number of deficiencies highlighted following an inspection of High Bridge House, High Bridge, which is managed by Boaden Hindmarsh, in November 2008.

The charges related to an inappropriate and defective fire alarm system, a lack of emergency lighting on escape routes and inadequately maintained fire doors. The firm was fined a total of £6,400 and ordered to pay £1,410 costs.

Area manager at the fire service, John Baines, said: “Our enforcement programme is proportionate to the risk involved, and in this case there was real risk of serious injury or death for people using these premises.” Source: Info4Fire

Care home slapped with £22,000 fine

The owner and manager of a care home in Newcastle have pleaded guilty to breaching the Fire Safety Order, after a fire at the property.

Tirsul Ltd, the company that owns Bowland Lodge, was ordered by Newcastle Magistrates Court to pay £18,750 in fines and £1,600 in costs for five contraventions of fire safety law.

Linda Parkin, manager of the care home, was also fined £2,000 plus £400 costs after pleading guilty to one charge relating to a locked fire exit. Officers found the fire exit nailed shut with a padlock fitted.

Group manager Darren Boddy, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "In this case the breaches placed the residents, staff and visitors at Bowland Lodge in serious danger of death or injury in the event of a fire or other emergency, and we were left with no alternative but to pursue the matter in court." Source: Info4Fire

Recycling firm pays out more than £60,000 in fines

A waste recycling company has been fined £40,000 plus costs after pleading guilty to 16 breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

Total Waste Ltd admitted to serious fire safety deficiencies at Bournemouth Crown Court on 18 January. As well as the fine, the company was ordered to pay a total of £22,688.82 in costs.

An investigation carried out by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service found that the company’s premises, which was used for paper recycling, had poor means of escape, a number of blocked fire exits and a disabled fire alarm, among other offences.

Group manager for Dorset fire service, Craig Baker, said: “Officers found extremely serious fire safety breaches that, in our opinion offered an immediate threat to the employees of Total Waste Ltd, therefore I believe in this case the fire authority had no option but to take action and prosecute the company." Source: Info4Fire

Poundland pays out £20,000

National retail chain Poundland Ltd has been told to pay around £20,000 in fines and costs for serious fire safety contraventions at one of its stores.

The breaches found were so severe that the outlet, on Commercial Road, Portsmouth, was evacuated immediately until they were fixed, a spokesperson for Hampshire Fire and Rescue service said. Investigators visiting the property in November 2008 found that there had been a failure to provide adequate training to a temporary store manager and that fire exits were not kept clear of storage.

The case finally went to Portsmouth Magistrates Court last Friday (4 February). It took around two years to complete due to “interviews and discussions” taking place with the store manager and the responsible person, the spokesman said. “This was a complex one as we had to deal with the individual store manager and his solicitor as well as the responsible person,” they said.

There were four breaches of Fire Safety Order made in total, each costing Poundland £3,250. Source: Info4Fire

Fire exit doors screwed shut at pub

Legal proceedings initiated by Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service resulted in the conviction of a former landlady after she pleaded guilty to violating fire safety regulations.

An 18 month conditional discharge was imposed on Eleanor Corcoran after she pleaded guilty to nine offences under the Fire Safety Order in October. She was also ordered to pay £250 towards the prosecution’s costs in the case, which came about after inspectors found her Little George pub in Chippenham had screwed shut fire exit doors. Other breaches at the premises included obstructed fire exit routes, failures to mitigate the risk of fire, propping open fire doors and failing to maintain the building’s fire and emergency lighting systems.

“The fire precautions for the building had been badly compromised and it was fortunate we discovered the offences before there had been a fire,” commented Wiltshire technical fire safety department group manager Julian Parsons. Source: FIA

Car boot fair organiser fined

Temporary event organisers are not exempt from complying with fire safety regulations as one individual found out after he was prosecuted for falling foul of rules.

Michael John Snow was ordered with a £24,000 fine earlier in the year at Nottingham Crown Court for organising a car boot fair in Mansfield. In addition to the fine, he was handed a six-month suspended sentence and ordered to do unpaid work after pleading guilty to eight breaches of fire safety regulations, including blocked potential fire exits. However, on appeal, the 54-year-old of Derwent Crescent, Newbold, Chesterfield, had his fine halved for being “candid” about the violations at the indoor market at Botany Commercial Park.

Nevertheless, Mr Snow will still have to pay £9,000 in legal costs following the breaches, which highlight the importance of the Responsible Person ensuring all rules are abided by. Source: FIA

Responsible person fined

A former fire alarm contractor has become the first member of his profession to be sentenced under the Fire Safety Order.

Christopher Morris, who lives in Llandudno, North Wales, has been charged with failing to maintain an alarm system in a care home for the elderly. Mr Morris appeared at Manchester
Crown Court on December 23rd, where he was ordered to pay a fine of £5,000 and court costs of £6,000.

The failings of the alarm system came to light after a fire in the Trafford care home last year, in which one woman died. The charges, made under the Fire Safety Order, included failing to inform a care home of fire safety deficiencies during a fire risk assessment. Deficiencies included multiple electronical faults, such as a blown fuse, which was
overridden by a piece of wire and an alarm warning buzzer being absent from the circuit board.

Jim Owen, deputy county fire officer, said that fire safety order prosecutions are usually aimed at property owners, Mr Morris’s prosecution may be unprecedented.”Whilst many owners have been prosecuted under the Fire Safety Order, this may be the first time a fire and rescue authority has prosecuted someone contracted by the owner of a property to maintain a fire alarm,” he said. Source: FIA

Opus Homewares convicted of fire safety offences

A discount retail chain has pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

Opus Homewares Ltd was fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £4,000 costs at Hartlepool Magistrates Court on 14 December, following a fire at its B&M store at Highlight retail park in Hartlepool. The offences came to light following a fire at the store on 30 September 2009. They included a failure to provide and maintain a suitable means of escape and failure to provide general fire precautions.

Barry Waller, head of fire engineering for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “The fire broke out at the front of the store and, after the fire was extinguished by responding fire crews, it was found that several exits were unavailable or obstructed. The circumstances found at the time of the incident were such that they seriously compromised the safety of the occupants and that is not something the fire brigade can, or will, condone.”

In a statement Opus Homewares said it regretted the incident and has since worked with Hartlepool fire service to rectify matters. Source: Info4Fire

£50,000 fine for Greggs

Greggs the bakers has been fined £50,000 and ordered to pay a further £20,326 in costs after pleading guilty to serious fire breaches at one of its stores.

Greggs plc, was prosecuted by the London Fire Brigade following an audit of one of their shops in Brentford in November 2008. Fire safety investigators found a number of contraventions including corridors that were partially blocked by plastic crates and a fire exit that was locked by four padlocks. At the other side of the fire exit was a security door which was also locked.

Appearing at Isleworth Crown Court on 13 December, Greggs pleaded guilty to two breaches of the Fire Safety Order. These were under article nine, for shortcomings found in its fire risk assessment, and article 14, which concerned emergency routes and exits. A notice sent to the company in January 2009 highlighted the need for a review of its fire risk assessment, an emergency plan and appropriate staff training.

Chairman and leader of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, councillor Brian Coleman said: “In these tough economic times it is important that companies do not take their eye off the ball when it comes to making their business safe from fire. Fire safety is a key part of good business management and responsible persons must comply with their legal obligations under the fire safety order, in order that employees and the general public are as safe as possible from the risk of fire. Failure to comply with the law can, as this case has shown, result in a prosecution.” Source: Info4Fire

Brewery pays out nearly £30,000

A brewery has been ordered to pay £27,481 in fines and costs following a number of fire safety breaches at one of its pubs in London.

Punch Taverns Plc pleaded guilty to seven contraventions of the Fire Safety Order at Thames Magistrates Court on 6 January. Fire safety officers who first investigated the Milestone pub on Mile End Road in July 2008 found that there was inadequate maintenance of the fire alarms and poor emergency lighting. In some cases, emergency lighting was non-existent. The London Fire Brigade also found that the building, which is a House of Multiple Occupation, had not been installed with self closers on a kitchen door and one of its bedroom doors. Punch Taverns was issued with an enforcement notice and time to comply following the first visit, however a second investigation in November 2008 revealed a number of faults still to be addressed.

Assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation, Steve Turek, said: “London Fire Brigade will continue to take action when businesses, large or small, do not take their fire safety responsibilities seriously. Failure to comply with the law can, as this case has shown, result in a prosecution.” Source: Info4Fire


Construction company fined following multiple fire safety breaches

A construction firm and a site manager have been fined for breaches of safety legislation, which included fire alarms being switched off on site.

Investigators also found that fire extinguishers held at the building, in China Town, Manchester, had not been tested for at least seven years. A 'massive' wall to ceiling collection of waste packaging and cardboard was also being stored in the building’s basement, which was just underneath a Chinese restaurant open to the public, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Neil Martin told Info4fire. Investigating with the help of fire safety officers from Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, the HSE also found that potential escape routes had not been marked, and in some cases, were blocked entirely. The rubbish filled 14 skips and took two days to clear, the HSE said.

Construction company, Music Box Karaoke Ltd, pleaded guilty at Trafford Magistrates Court on 10 December to breaching regulations 14(1), 16(a) and 21(1) of Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. It was fined £6,000 with costs of £3,313. Site manager Marc Royle, 37, also entered a guilty plea for breaching regulations 38(a), 39(1) and 41(1). He was fined £450 with costs of £2,710. Source: Info4Fire

Landlord pleads guilty to eight breaches of Fire Safety Order

A landlord in Scarborough has pleaded guilty to eight breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

Lazlo Banki appeared at Scarborough Magistrates Court on 8 November charged with eight contraventions of the Order. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) looked at Mr Banki's property, an unlicensed HMO, in March this year following a complaint. Among the fire safety failings found in the building's flats, tenants were not provided with adequate means of escape, a fire alarm, fire detection system or an emergency lighting system.

Karen Galloway, prosecuting, said: “The fire service’s decision to prosecute was not taken lightly and this measure is only taken in the most serious cases. The contraventions in this case were serious and would have continued had the Fire Authority and Scarborough Borough Council not acted immediately by serving a prohibition notice on the responsible person.” Source: Info4Fire

Poundstretcher chain pays £55,000

National discount chain Poundstretcher Limited has been fined £51,500 and ordered to pay £3,450 costs at Leeds crown court for seven offences under the Fire Safety Order.

The offences at Poundstretcher’s Castleford store in West Yorkshire included a failure to take adequate fire precautions for its employees and other relevant people, a failure to review its fire risk assessment, emergency routes and exits blocked, and inadequate staff training.

Craig McIntosh, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s director of fire safety, said the prosecution followed breaches of fire safety legislation at other Poundstretcher locations. “This is the third time a prosecution has been brought in West Yorkshire,” he said. “The severity of the fines imposed by the court show that companies cannot continue to treat public and staff safety with contempt. The fines are intended to make Poundstretcher take its obligations seriously in the future."

In July 2009 Poundstretcher was fined £12,000 and ordered to pay £2,460 costs at Halifax magistrates court. And in October last year the company was fined £8,500 and ordered to pay £2,461 costs at Wakefield magistrates court. Source: Info4Fire

Landlord fined for fire safety breaches at HMO

A private sector landlord has been fined for breaching fire safety regulations and managing a 'house of multiple occupation' without a licence.

Mr Warwick Armsby-Ward pleaded guilty at Brighton Magistrates Court and was fined £2,000, plus £750 costs. It follows concerns raised by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service on the safety of his building, which was being used for accommodation as well as a bar. It is a record fine for such a breach in the city.

The building, with Heist Bar on the ground floor, housed five tenants upstairs. Fire safety officers also discovered poorly protected escape routes and an inadequate fire alarm system.

The fire service served a prohibition notice under the Fire Safety Order restricting residents from sleeping in the upstairs property until emergency work was completed. The work has since been carried out. Source: Info4Fire

Restaurant bosses pay over £12,000 for 'horrifying' non-compliance

Two bosses of an Indian restaurant in Plymouth have pleaded guilty to four offences under the Fire Safety Order.

Taklus Hussain and Faizul Hoque were each fined £4,000 and ordered to pay £2,300 each in costs after a fire last November at the Mutley Spice restaurant in Mutley. A subsequent inspection found inadequate fire detection and alarm provisions, blocked stairwells leading to sleeping accommodation above, no suitable training of staff, and no suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment.

A prohibition notice was issued on the use of the sleeping accommodation above the restaurant which was being used by two members of staff.

Presiding magistrate Diana Greene said: “We were horrified at the extent of your non-compliance. If a random passer-by had not seen the smoke, the outcome could have been extremely different. It hardly bears thinking about.” Source: Info4Fire

Shop Keeper Fined £13,000

A shop keeper has been told to pay a fine of £5,500 and another £7,747 in costs for locking a final exit gate and failing to carry out a fire risk assessment in shop premises.

Mr Kulasingan Chandramohan, who had failed three inspections at his Select & Save shop in Birmingham, must pay the fine within six months or he will go to prison for half a year as well as paying out costs. Source: Info4Fire

Hotel Group Pays £127,000 Fine

The Hallmark Manchester – formerly the Belfry House Hotel in Wilmslow – was visited by firefighters in April 2008 during renovations. According to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, they were so concerned about what they found that fire safety officers were brought in the same day and served a prohibition notice closing the hotel.

The court heard that there was no operable automatic detection or manual call points on the third floor of the 160-capacity hotel, while on other floors there were faulty smoke detectors and substandard fire exits. Also staff had not been properly trained in fire safety. Source: Info4Fire

Guests Flee Hotel Fire

A hotel company and its manager have been ordered to pay out more than £40,000 after guests and staff took up to 20 minutes to evacuate the building when a fire broke out.

The owner and the general manager of Park Hotel, in Leicester, both pleaded guilty to ten breaches of the Fire Safety Order at Leicester Magistrates Court on 21 May.

The case followed a fire on the first floor of the hotel on 13 August last year, when it was discovered that the fire alarm could not be heard in a basement area of the premises where onsite staff lived. This led to a delay of around 20 minutes for the evacuation of the hotel, the court heard. The blaze was found to have started in a guest's room but firefighters found smoke logging throughout the premises.

In a follow-up visit on 27 August, fire safety inspectors found there was no sounder for the fire alarm in the basement, and most of the fire doors leading onto the stairs and corridor to the first floor were wedged open. Further investigations revealed that there was no evidence of weekly testing of the fire alarm or monthly tests on the emergency lighting, no certification available for the fire extinguishers, and an inadequate fire risk assessment.

Hotel Owner Fined For Five Breaches

A Bolton hotel owner has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs after pleading guilty to five breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

The prosecution of the owner of the Pack Horse hotel, Subhash Jajoo, followed a complaint about a blocked fire exit at the hotel in December 2008.

A follow-up inspection of the premises by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service revealed a number of failings. These included defective fire doors, a defective call point, obstructions to the escape routes, defective emergency lighting units and fire extinguishers not being maintained properly.

Cllr Paul Shannon, vice chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority said: “We welcome the clear message from the courts that action will be taken against those businesses that neglect fire safety and thereby risk the public’s safety. The Fire Authority is focussed on helping businesses operate safely and taking action when they don’t.”

Pub Landlord Fined Over £16,000

A former pub landlord has been ordered to pay £16,015 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaches of fire safety legislation.

Bhupinder Singh Mann was found guilty of 16 contraventions of the Fire Safety Order at Isleworth Court, on Friday 26 February. It comes after an investigation into conditions at The Star, a pub that Mann ran in Hillingdon, London.

Safety officers from the London Fire Brigade found a number of fire safety failings on the premises, including no fire extinguishers, no emergency signage and no fire risk assessment.

Warnings were issued, but despite repeated visits in 2008 and 2009 and the issuing of an enforcement notice, Mann failed to comply with most of the requirements. Eventually fire officers served a prohibition notice in early 2009 to stop guests or staff using the upper floors of the pub because the risk was so serious. When this was again ignored, fire officers recommended that the owner of the premises, Punch Taverns, physically bar access to the upper floors.

Following the conviction, London Fire Brigade's assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation, Steve Turek, said: “Ensuring you know about fire safety law is not an option - if you are the person responsible for a premises it is a necessity. If people do not adhere to the legislation, then as shown in this case, we can prosecute.”

The manager of The Star was also found guilty of breaching the Fire Safety Order, and was ordered to pay £1,015 in fines and costs on 7 December.

Hotel Company Fined £21,000

A company that owned a London hotel has been ordered to pay more than £21,000 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to six offences under the Fire Safety Order.

Malfax Investments Limited, which owned the Averard Hotel on Lancaster Gate in Bayswater, was sentenced this week at Westminster Magistrates Court.

The hotel was inspected by fire safety officers in April 2009, when they found a number of failings including inadequate fire detection and alarm system, problems with the external means of escape and inadequate and defective fire doors. As a result of these deficiencies, the officers issued an enforcement notice detailing the issues and when they needed to be resolved.

The company disclosed a fire risk assessment that was prepared in January 2008. Although it detailed a number of failings and advised steps they needed to take to address them, said London Fire Brigade, the company failed to act on the findings and implement any of the actions required. The hotel closed shortly after the enforcement noticed was issued.

“The general public should feel safe from fire when they are staying at a hotel and the responsible person must make sure their premises comply with the regulations,” said London Fire Brigade's assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation, Steve Turek.“All premises owners and operators must undertake a fire safety risk assessment. Although this was completed in this case, it is no use if the responsible person does not act on its findings.”

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