We bring these latest fire prosecutions to you to act as a reminder and warning about the responsibilities and legal obligations of business owners to undertake regular fire risk assessments.
Case 1: Fire safety breach results in £65,000 fines and costs
Two businessmen have failed to take sufficient fire safety precautions whilst converting a public house to a restaurant, leading to convictions and fines of £65,000 including costs being awarded against the company of which one of the convicted men is a director.
Mr Raja was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for two years, as well as 240 hours of unpaid work, to pay £1000 costs and to be subject to a 7pm-7am curfew for four months. Mr Ahmed received 30 weeks in prison suspended for two years, as well as 200 hours of unpaid work and the payment of £2000 in costs.
Case 2: Landlord fined over £150,000 for serious fire safety breaches
A Kensington landlord has been fined more than £150,000 after cramming 18 tenants into a flat, which was subdivided using flimsy pieces of plasterboard as makeshift partitions to create 14 rooms. There were no fire doors, smoke detectors or alarms in the flat which had one kitchen shared by all the tenants.
Due to the way the flat had been subdivided, some rooms had no electric light fittings in the ceiling, which meant extension leads and trailing wires running through the property.
The conditions were deemed so dangerous environmental health officers from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea issued a Prohibition Order to prevent further use of the flat.
The defendants, who did not attend court, were fined a combined £162,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,498.
Source: Fire Safety Services
Case 3: A Manchester landlord has been ordered to serve a 12-month jail sentence
A Manchester landlord has been ordered to serve a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work and told to pay £11,025 costs after fire officers found numerous dangerous features to a property under his ownership.
A fire safety officer came upon Mr Karamat Hussain’s property by chance, uncovering a series of safety issues including a broken fire alarm, a lack of effective fire doors, empty extinguishers used as doorstops, holes in roofs, a ceiling comprised of plastic sheeting, plus mattresses and boxes blocking fire exits.
Mr Hussain was also not able to produce a fire risk assessment - although he says he paid £700 to have one done. Prosecutor Julian King told Hussain’s sentencing hearing that a fire safety officer was passing the building in July 2015 when he saw a young child at the window and became concerned for their safety. He entered the building, discovered the dangerous problems and returned 12 times over a 14-month period in an attempt to bring the building up to scratch, however Mr Hussain did not comply.