We bring you the latest fire prosecutions to highlight the importance of fire safety and to remind you of the risks and legal consequences that can occur when fire safety regulations are breached.
This month, we’re looking at the prosecution of two landlords in London and a property managing agent in Cardiff who failed to meet fire safety requirements.
The managing agent of a number of properties in Cardiff has been ordered to pay over £60,000 in fines and costs following a successful prosecution by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
Abdul Kowsor was found to have committed nine offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at a property containing seven apartments.
The offences included failing to maintain a working fire alarm and emergency lighting systems, which are essential in ensuring occupants can escape safely in the event of a fire. Offences also included failure to keep fire escape routes clear and a lack of measures to stop the spread of fire and smoke.
Fire and Rescue Services also found that Kowsor had not ensured that a suitable Fire Risk Assessment had been carried out at the property.
During the hearing, Newport Crown Court heard that Kowsor was “more than happy to place cost-cutting before the safety of occupants,” resulting in wholly inadequate fire precautions in place at the property.
Two Ewell landlords have been convicted in separate prosecutions following building regulations breaches relating to fire safety.
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council have successfully prosecuted Frank Hare, who was found guilty of 19 separate breaches of building regulations after illegally converting a property into five individual flats.
Hare was found to have breached regulations related to fire safety, means of escape and a lack of smoke detection. There were also ventilation issues and inadequate sound insulation which were not rectified.
And in a separate prosecution by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, Chun-Gng Zheng was convicted of 13 breaches of building regulations at a property above a Chinese takeaway.
When council environmental health officers attended the site to conduct a hygiene inspection, they found that two rooms in the roof space above the takeaway were being used as accommodation. The property had no fire doors, no self-contained fire lobby, no means of escape in case of a fire and no sufficient smoke detection system.
Frank Hare was ordered to pay £7,040 plus a £44 victim surcharge and costs of £2,920, and Chun-Gng Zheng was ordered to pay £1,330 plus a £30 victim surcharge and legal costs of £1,890.
Councillor Eber Kington, chairman of the council's Strategy and Resources Committee, said that while the council take no pleasure in taking local businesses to court, “When people's lives are put at risk and our recommendations, warnings and instructions are deliberately disregarded, we will not hesitate to prosecute."
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