Serving as a reminder of the importance and severity fire safety breaches can result in, our latest update on fire assessment-related prosecutions highlights a property agent ordered to pay £40,000 six years after a fatal fire, a hospice handed a huge £250k fine for fire safety breaches, and two cases prosecuted by Birmingham City Council, in the midst of a crackdown on landlord flouting HMO Management Regulations.
Following a fire in a block of flats in London that took place in 2012, Parc Properties Management Ltd (PPML) have been sentenced and ordered to pay £40,000 after the fire resulted in the death of woman living in a flat on the fifth floor of the building.
The Brigade’s fire safety team carried out an inspection of the building following the fire and found a number of serious fire safety failures, including:
Failing to take general fire precautions to ensure the premises is safe
Failing to have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
Failure to monitor and review the preventive and protective measures
The building was not properly equipped with firefighting equipment nor was it correctly maintained
The fire detection system was not properly maintained
The FIA has reported that Anthony Freeman, a landlord from Birmingham, has been given a £25k fine for a host of fire safety offences.
“In a joint operation with West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council Officers from the Private Rented Services team found that Mr Freeman’s property had no smoke detectors in the bedrooms; there was no fire blanket in the kitchen, inadequate emergency lighting on the escape route, missing staircase handrails, non-compliant fire doors and broken and leaking guttering and waste pipes.
The Council said in a statement on its website: “This fine sends out a message to landlords who avoid the law that Birmingham City Council will pursue anyone who lets unlicensed and/or substandard accommodation.”
The East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have issued a huge £250,000 fine on St Michael’s Hospice Hastings and Rother in relation to offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
In March, the company pleaded guilty to two breaches of fire safety law, with Her Honour Judge Henson describing the failures in fire safety as obvious and avoidable.
The website states “She went onto describe how the fire ruthlessly exposed the failures, such as locked doors, lack of evacuation training and equipment, and holes in the ceiling which allowed smoke to spread throughout the building.
She added that a mock evacuation and basic training would have helped identify some of these deficiencies, and it shouldn’t have taken a fire to highlight these issues.”
Leila Amjadi, a landlord from Birmingham, has received the largest ever fine for breaching fire safety rules at Houses of Multiple occupation under her ownership.
Birmingham City Council found 31 breaches of HMO Management Regulations, including missing fire blankets, fire doors that were either missing or inadequate, and smoke detectors which were hanging loose from the ceilings.
The Council website reports: “The district judge commented that, despite the significant income from her properties, Ms Amjadi was an unscrupulous landlord who did not care for the health and safety of her tenants. Her behaviour and excuses resulted in them suffering unacceptable living conditions.”
All of these cases serve as a vital reminder of the responsibilities building owners have, particularly regarding fire safety. Seemingly small details such as closing fire doors, fire blankets and building upkeep, all have a huge effect on the risk of fire spreading.
Here at Vulcan we offer a range of fire training courses to help both companies and individuals understand what to do in the event of a fire.
Learn more about the range of courses on offer here.