Latest Fire Prosecutions - July / August 2015

19th August 2015

We bring these latest fire prosecutions to you to act as a reminder and warning about the responsibilities and legal obligations of business owners to undertake regular fire risk assessments.

If you’re not sure of what is required please get in touch.

Six men jailed for fire safety offences
The bosses of a shisha bar in Manchester have been jailed for a number of offences in what has been described as ‘one of the most complex fire safety prosecutions ever held in the UK’.

The court heard how diesel and combustible bin liners were found near fire exits, which didn’t open properly, and the installed fire alarm was not switched on.

There was also a flammable fabric marquee, which despite orders from the council to take down remained erected for a month, and fire safety notices had been torn down.

Mr Wali Yaqub, the owner of the premises, was found guilty of several fire safety offences and sentenced to 19 months in jail. 

The other defendants included:

    • Mr Tajamul Khan, who was jailed for 14 months. 
    • Mr Ishtiaq Ahmed, who was sentenced to 34 weeks in prison. 
    • Mr Salma Jangeer, who was sentenced to 38 weeks, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours of unpaid work.
    • Mr Adeel Bhatti, who was given a 12-month community order with 80 hours of unpaid work and a two month curfew.
    • Mr Bushra Javed, who was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

In sentencing, Judge Michael Leeming, said: “Those people who invested money in this enterprise put profit before the safety of the paying public.

Hotel owner jailed for fire safety breaches
Mr David Schofield, owner of a hotel in Paignton, Devon, was given a jail sentence after admitting seven breaches of fire safety rules.

Mr Schofield received a six month sentence for a number of unsafe practices including:

    • Doors in the hotel were not fire resistant. 
    • Electrics were dangerous. 
    • Safety evacuation procedures were inadequate.
    • Emergency lights were not tested. 
    • Alarms were faulty.
    • A fire door was blocked with a wooden plinth, whilst another was left open with a hook on the wall.
    • Fire doors were unable to open or close properly. 
    • There was inadequate firefighting equipment.
    • Fuse boxes were exposed.

Judge Philip Wassell said: ""This hotel was so dangerous that I don't see myself with any other option than to impose a custodial punishment." 

£42,000 fine for 41 fire offences by property companies
Two companies responsible for managing rented properties in Hertfordshire have received a £42,000 fine after accumulating 41 fire safety offences.

Properties owned by Odus Ltd were found to have locked and faulty fire doors, missing smoke seals, fire extinguishers which were empty and broken fire alarms. The company was ordered to pay £17,600 in fines plus £17,424 in costs. 

XS Property Management, meanwhile, was fined £4,300 and ordered to pay £3,210 in costs for breaches at one of its property such a faulty fire door and missing smoke seal.  

Hospital handed enforcement notice
A hospital in Carlisle has been handed an enforcement notice by Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service to undertake fire safety improvements.

The Cumberland Infirmary was built using fireproofing material unable to prevent a fire from spreading, and the fire alarm and detection system was found to be inadequate. 

Student landlord jailed for fire safety breaches
Landlord Garreth Wilson has been jailed for failing to tackle fire safety hazards at a block of shared student accommodation in Cotham.

In January 2012 students had to be rescued following a fire at the premises at which time Mr Wilson was given a four-month suspended sentence and handed a £10,000 fine.

However, just five months later, the flats were checked again and fire safety risks were still present. As a result Mr Wilson received a 6 month jail sentence and was ordered to pay costs of over £12,000.

Large fine for fire safety offences for London hotelier
Salim Patel, owner of the Radnor Hotel in Bayswater has received a £200,000 fine and a suspended 4 month jail sentence following seven breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Breaches included:

    • Inadequate fire detection systems
    • Missing fire doors
    • No fire risk assessment.

Despite being served with an enforcement notice Mr Salim failed to put in place any changes by the time the fire brigade carried out a follow up visit.

Care home owner pleads guilty to fire safety failings
The owner of a care home in Devon has pleaded guilty to four counts of fire safety offences and has been ordered to pay £19,500 in fines.

The offences included:

    • Damage to external fire escape staircase
    • Missing fire doors
    • Holes in the fire compartmentation
    • No fire risk assessment
    • Electrical fuse boards without fire resistant material.