Latest Fire Prosecutions - December 2019

6th January 2020

Vulcan Fire Training brings you some of the latest UK fire prosecutions from December 2019, to highlight the importance of compliance, and to remind you of the risks to property and life, and legal consequences that can occur when fire safety regulations are breached.

This month we look at the successful prosecutions of a hotel owner in Liverpool and a landlord in Leicester whose fire safety failings put the lives of customers and residents at risk.

Case 1 - Liverpool hotel owner sentenced for multiple fire safety breaches

Stephen Charlesworth, owner of the unsupervised hotel, Liverpool Party Pads, has received a suspended prison sentence for numerous fire safety failings.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Charlesworth consistently and repeatedly breached his responsibilities as the owner of the hotel, ignoring the Prohibition Notice placed on the premises by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and putting his customers’ lives at risk.

On inspecting the property, fire safety officers found a number of safety breaches, including:

  • No maintained fire alarm system
  • No emergency lighting along escape routes
  • Stairways and escape routes were littered with various items, including combustible materials
  • Combustible materials were attached to the walls in the escape route
  • A complicated stairway and corridors leading to 12 bedroom areas, with only a single route in and out of the building
  • Some of the bedrooms had a tent-like effect with material fitted to the ceilings which could quickly ignite in the event of a fire
  • A lack of suitable signage along the escape routes directing people of which way to go
  • A lack of suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
  • No fire doors

The inspection officer stated that if a fire was to start in the property while guests are present, there would be significant risk of injury or death. But despite a Prohibition Notice being put in place which prohibited guests staying at the hotel, the property continued to be advertised.

Charlesworth pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a Prohibition Notice on six occasions and received a 10 month suspended sentence, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay £26,000 in costs. He must also complete 180 hours of community service.


Case 2 - Leicester landlord fined following serious fire

A landlord in Leicester has been fined following a fire at Sharazur Butchers and Grocery Store on Narborough Road.

The fire, which happened in July 2018, started in the shop on the ground floor but quickly spread to the flats above. As a result, a resident living in the upstairs apartment has to escape from a second floor window as they became trapped by smoke and flames.

In summing up the case, the judge at Leicester Crown Court stated that fire safety arrangements were ‘woefully inadequate’ and it was only by good fortune that no one was killed or seriously injured.

It was determined at Mohamed Patel, who acted as the landlord for the premises, had failed to carry out a sufficient fire risk assessment, failed to ensure that there was adequate fire compartmentation and failed to provide an adequate means of raising the alarm in the case of a fire.

Patel received a £11,250 fine and was ordered to pay £15,000 in costs.

Nick Tarry, Station Manager, Fire Protection, said: “This sentence should act as a warning to those people with responsibility for fire safety, that Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service will take these matters extremely seriously. The consequences of this case could have been devastating.

“Anyone who is responsible for a premises should comply with fire safety legislation, as failure to do so or having suitable fire safety arrangements in place can put people’s lives at risk.”


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