Breaches of the Fire Safety Order: Latest court cases

Chichester restaurant fined thousands for breaching fire safety laws

The Wildwood restaurant chain has been found guilty of four charges under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 following a fire safety inspection last month, after a complaint from a member of the public. The restaurant was fined £13,452 and ordered to pay £1,962 costs at Worthing Magistrates Court on May 27.

When fire safety officers visited the property a number of serious breaches where found.
They included obstructed fire exits, defective emergency lighting, the absence of a working fire alarm, dangerous electrics and a fire risk assessment that took no account of ongoing building work on the 2nd floor of the property where staff were sleeping.
The situation was so dangerous that a Prohibition Notice was instantly served on the premises, preventing its use as sleeping quarters.
Richard Bradley, business fire safety manager for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The property was being refurbished and the building work had overrun.
“The company made the decision to open, even though the fire alarm was not working and there were a number of serious fire safety issues. This is putting people’s lives at risk for the sake of profit and that simply isn’t acceptable.”

The owner of a Milton Keynes guest house has been ordered to pay a total of £24,168.29 for serious breaches of fire safety regulations after pleading guilty to 10 charges.

Ms Nicole Harris, who runs the property in Oldbrook, had insufficient fire protection for fire escape routes, no firefighting equipment, no fire risk assessment and an inadequate fire warning system, Milton Keynes Magistrates heard. The court heard that Ms Harris, had pleaded guilty to eight charges at a previous hearing for failing to take adequate fire precautions in respect of the premises. She also admitted a further two summary charges for obstructing fire officers in the line of duty. Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority brought the charges following an inspection of the premises by fire safety officers a year ago after receiving a fire safety complaint from Milton Keynes Council housing officers.
The inspection identified significant and serious contraventions of fire safety regulations which led to the issue of a prohibition notice.
Magistrates heard that Ms Harris, who was sole proprietor and landlord of the premises, had continued to let parts of the premises for sleeping guests despite the service of a prohibition notice which expressly prohibited the premises from accommodating sleeping guests.
In mitigation presented by the defence, the court was informed of Ms Harris’s regret and failure to appreciate her obligations under the regulations over these offences. Her previous character was described as exemplary with no previous convictions.