Latest Fire Prosecutions - March 2019

1st April 2019

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.

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In this update, we see an HMO (House of multiple occupancy) landlord fined £50,000 and a care home face fines for putting vulnerable residents at risk.

Case 1

A landlord and his company Assim Estates Ltd have been fined £45,000 plus £5,000 in court fees after pleading guilty to fire safety breaches.

In 2017, the landlord informed inspectors that the property was going to be either sold or let as a single occupancy property but when they revisited in 2018, they found the property was still an HMO with five tenants occupying the property.

During the inspection, the property was found to have no fire detectors or alarms in the communal hall, stairs or landing area as well as no interlinked fire detection in the rest of the property.

Other fire safety breaches included no fire doors, no fire blanket, no lighting in the hallway areas, and missing window handles in communal areas as well as bedrooms.

A later inspection in the summer of 2018 found that no work had been carried out to improve the property.

Nick Pace, Executive member for housing and community at St Albans City & District Council said: “This is one of the largest fines we have seen for these types of offences, indicating the seriousness of this case.

“It sends out a clear message – that we will always act to protect our residents from landlords who compromise the safety of their tenants.”

Case 2

Liverpool based Stapley Care Home has been ordered to pay a fine of £6,000 for a range of fire safety offences that put both staff and residents at risk.

The home were found guilty of five breaches of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, after an inspection in 2018.

During this inspection, it was found that the care home had failed to maintain satisfactory fire separation in cupboard ceilings, corridor walls, storage rooms and the basement. A lack of appropriate fire detectors and alarms were also found.

It was suggested by inspectors that a fire could have spread quickly due to insufficient means of raising an alarm, preventing the spread of smoke and of evacuating residents.

Brian Massie, senior fire protection officer for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS), said, “This is a care home with approximately 70 residents, some suffering dementia and needing significant support.

“From 2011 onwards, several inspections of the premises have been conducted and it is clear Stapely Care Home were aware of their duties under the fire safety order.”

Following this case, MFRS will be conducting a fire safety campaign targeting all care homes across Merseyside.

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