Fire Risk Assessment

Wake up call for businesses

Owner sentenced for fire safety offences

A judge has described the offences of a takeaway owner in Oldham as “a wake up" for those running a business.

The judgment came at the sentencing of a takeaway owner who put the lives of a four-year-old girl and his staff at risk by committing 11 breaches of the Fire Safety Order.

Usman Adnan Farzand, of Oldham Road, Ashton, has been handed a four month suspended sentence for each offence that will run concurrently and ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service after pleading guilty at Rochdale Magistrates Court last month.

Fire safety officers from Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service (GMFRS) inspected the Mr Cod takeaway in Oldham in February 2011.

Officers were shocked by the level of risk with no fire alarm in the building, no fire doors to separate the commercial premises from the living space, and the discovery of a four-year-old girl sleeping in the basement alongside mains gas and electricity intakes and overloaded extension leads.

The girl belonged to a takeaway employee according to Mr Farzand.

Pictures also show large piles of combustible materials that were stored opposite the bottom of the stairs in the building. This would have meant that the escape route would quickly be cut off in the event of a fire.

Additionally there was only one staircase accessing the basement, so smoke would have logged the escape route. With no alarm in the building, this would leave people in the basement with no warning in the event of fire.

There was also no emergency lighting or signage in the building.

Officers served a prohibition notice on the use of the basement.

Sentencing Farzand, His Honour Judge Timothy Mort said: “As a matter of common sense the first thing you should have done was pick up the phone to the fire service and ask for help as we all know the fire service is active in the community and helps people to avoid fires.

“You failed to sit down and think what to do if there was a fire and consider basic fire precautions in general. I accept the risk you put people living in the basement at was not deliberate but you gave no thought to it. Common sense dictates that if anyone was asleep down there and there was a fire they were doomed.

“This should be a wake up for [people] running a business.”

Assistant chief fire officer and head of prevention and protection at GMFRS, Peter O'Reilly, said: “This was a shocking case which showed a total disregard for the safety of not only a vulnerable child but also Farzand’s employees.

“GMFRS is committed to working with the business community, but all employers must realise they have a responsibility to assess the risks in their premises and take measures to protect their employees. The cases before the courts this week show the serious implications of ignoring fire safety and I am only pleased that in both cases fortunately there was no tragedy.” Source: Info4Fire

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