Latest Fire Prosecutions - September 2019

8th October 2019

Vulcan Fire Training bring you the latest fire prosecutions to highlight the importance of compliance with fire safety regulations and remind you of the potential legal consequences when regulations are breached.

This month, we’re looking at three successful prosecutions from September 2019 including of a West Yorkshire grammar school and a landlord in Birmingham, as well as a second prosecution in the Sheffield student accommodation case we spoke about last month.

Case 1 - Birmingham landlord fined £2,000 for fire safety breaches

A Birmingham landlord has been ordered to pay £2,000 for failure to appropriately fit fire safety measures at a house in multiple occupation (HMO).

When visiting the two storey home, which housed nine people, officers found there to be no interlinked fire alarm, fire doors or fire blanket. There was also a lack of sufficient fire compartmentation in the building.

The property was also found to be operating without a licence.

Cllr Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods said, “HMO properties have a massive role to play in providing affordable housing to people in Birmingham, particularly as we are in the midst of a national housing crisis. However, these properties must also meet building and fire safety standards, be properly regulated, appropriately licensed and ultimately provide good quality housing for citizens who are paying a monthly rent.”


Case 2 - West Yorkshire school foundation pleads guilty to fire safety offences

Wakefield Grammar School Foundation and its former fire risk assessor, James Gibson have been prosecuted by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority for fire safety failings at their premises between February 16 2017 and 11 March 2017.

Gibson pleaded guilty to failing to make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment at Leeds Magistrates Court, while Wakefield Grammar School Foundation pleaded guilty to failing to take general fire precautions.

The case has been submitted to Leeds Crown Court for sentencing in January.


Case 3 - Fire risk assessor fined for safety regulations breach

Following the August prosecution of Ashgate Property Developments for fire safety failings at their student accommodation in Sheffield, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue has now welcomed the prosecution of the site’s fire risk assessor.

David Thompson of Toftwood Health & Safety Solutions has been fined £750 and ordered to pay £1000 in costs.

Sheffield Magistrates Court heard that Thompson failed to provide a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment at the Hexagon student accommodation on Rockingham Lane, Sheffield.

When summing up the case, the judge commented that a competent risk assessor should be able to recognise the limits of their experience and expertise, and know when they aren’t able to do something themselves.

Area Manager Steve Helps, said, “This verdict should serve as a stark warning to building owners that people carrying out fire risk assessments should be competent and able to properly consider all of the risks within buildings, particular where people’s lives could be placed at risk.”


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