Fires in housing - Don't take the risk warns Vulcan

1st April 2016

There have been many events that have occurred in housing where people have been put at risk due to negligence that could potentially have been avoided if a fire safety and risk assessment was put in place.

Fires in housing - Don't take the risk warns Vulcan| Vulcan Fire Training
For example, a landlord from Redruth, Cornwall, has been handed a £2000 fine after inspectors from the local council found a number of fire safety hazards.

Mr Mohammed Habibur Rahman pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to comply with the requirements of improvement notices at Truro Magistrates Court.

The inspection from Cornwall Council’s Private Sector Housing Team uncovered a number of issues, including:

    • A dangerous fire escape route
    • Sub-standard fire doors that had bolt locks on the inside and clasp type locks on the outside
    • Commercial freezers positioned on the fire escape route
    • And a slippery and badly maintained timber staircase to the rear of the building which did not have anti-slip treads.

Stuart Kenney from Cornwall Council’s Private Sector Housing team said: “The council’s Private Sector Housing Teams have identified a number of substandard dwellings occupied by workers of restaurant and takeaway establishments and been involved in a range of enforcement interventions.’’

Joyce Duffin, Cornwall Council cabinet member for Housing and Environment said: “This case highlights that there are still some landlords who are not fulfilling their legal obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their tenants.’’

Source: FIA

Example 2

Three men have received hefty fines for the management of a converted office block in Luton which was found to have a number of fire safety hazards.

The local council visited the property and found that two office floors had been altered to include 20 bedrooms, with communal kitchens and bathrooms.

Some of the safety failings found included:

    • Rooms were not properly compartmentalised, potentially allowing smoke and fire to pass through
    • One fire alarm was inoperable and a fire escape blocked by four televisions
    • Fire escapes on the top and ground floor were both via open plan kitchens
    • There was an air suspension system in the basement bedroom which could have been fatal if activated
    • The fire escape door in the basement was defective and windows in the basement room were barred.

Prosecutor Samantha McKeeman said: “Following an inspection, the fire officer was very concerned in relation to the way the building had been converted.

She added: “The fire officer was so concerned about risks from fire, he made a prohibition order on the premises. This was not done lightly, as the reality of doing this was that 45 people were made homeless.”

Mr Mohammed Nadeem, Mr Qamar Nazir, and Mr Naveed Nazir, owned the freehold to the building but it was leased out to DPG Business Solutions, a Stourbridge-based company run by its director David Peter Gaye.

Mr Nadeem was fined £2,000, with extra costs of £735, whilst Mr Qamar and Naveed Nazir were fined £2,500 each with additional costs of £665 each.

Source: FIA

By undertaking the appropriate training you can not only help to reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries from fire, but also avoid prosecution. Vulcan Fire Training offer a 3 Day Fire Risk Assessor course specifically designed for groups of employees within housing who need to fire risk assess small to medium sized premises, or similar types of buildings within a group of companies. 

The 3 Day Fire Risk Assessor course includes: 

    • Fire safety risk assessments
    • Identifying hazards 
    • People at risk Removal or reduction of hazards 
    • Means of escape 
    • Travel distances
    • Staircase designs 
    • Emergency lighting much more.

More information on this in-house course can be found here