Latest Fire Prosecutions - October 2019

5th November 2019

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

This month, we look at the successful prosecutions of a takeaway owner in West Sussex, and of a building owner in North Yorkshire whose fire safety failings resulted in the tragic death of a tenant.

Case 1 - Building owner sentenced following fatal fire near Pickering

Sinnington building owner, David Lumley has been sentenced to 10 months in prison following a fire at Potters Lodge which resulted in a fatality.

The premises where the fire occurred was a garage, stables and storeroom block with a self contained flat above the garage. At the time of the fire, there was a tenant living in the flat who tragically lost his life.

An investigation by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue found that the building was converted to provide sleeping accommodation without planning authority approval. There was also an Enforcement Notice in place which prohibited the building being used as sleeping accommodation.

Judge Morris of York Crown Court stated that the building should have never been used for sleeping or living and, as a builder, Lumley should have known better.

David Lumley pleaded guilty to two offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was sentenced to 10 months in prison, suspended for 12 months, fined a total of £40,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 costs.

Speaking about the case, David Winspear of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “The parties involved in this case were in a position of trust and responsibility.

“Considering the occupier and fire victim, Boguslaw Szylak, who was a vulnerable person, insofar as English was not his first language, that responsibility was so much greater.

“We would like to remind business owners and landlords that it is important that they are aware of the legislative requirements they need to comply with including having an up to date fire risk assessment."


Case 2 - West Sussex takeaway fined for fire safety breaches

The owner of a Chinese takeaway in Littlehampton has been fined following three breaches of fire safety regulations.

Restaurant owner, Lian Jian Shong appeared in Worthing Magistrates Court where it was heard that during a fire safety inspection, officers found that there was no fire separation between the downstairs commercial kitchen and residential accommodation on the floor above.

It was also found that the restaurant had no fire alarm system, dangerous electrics, inadequate means of escape, inadequate general fire precautions and there was no fire risk assessment in place.

Adrian Murphy of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service described the fire safety failings as “incredibly troubling” and stated that they “demonstrate the owner’s disregard not only for the safety of their employees, but also those living above the premises.”

Lian Jian Shong pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was fined £414 (£138 for each offence), ordered to pay £917 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.


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