Businesses have been warned that Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service will not hesitate to prosecute if it finds serious breaches of fire safety law.

The warning follows a successful prosecution by the service, in which two businessmen were ordered to pay almost £47,000 in fines and costs after they pleaded guilty at Derby Crown Court to 11 charges under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The case followed a fire at 276 Burton Road, Derby, next to the International Hotel, which are both business interests of the defendants. The property was not being used for hotel guests; however staff members were staying at no 276, which was also used as a linen store.

A fire started in a tumble dryer and one of the workers was treated for smoke inhalation.

Area Manager Gavin Tomlinson said: "The judge acknowledged that the defendants had got into the situation by neglect rather than through any deliberate actions. However, businesses that do not pay attention to their duties under fire safety law not only leave themselves open to prosecution but also to large fines and costs.

"When we discover blatant disregard for fire safety we will not hesitate to prosecute anyone we find who is breaking the law. These laws are there to protect people from the risk of fire and its sometimes fatal consequences. People who adhere to the law will also make sure that they protect premises from fire and the potential losses that a fire can cause."

  • The charges under the Order were brought after an investigation revealed:
  • Fire precautions at the premises were wholly inadequate, there was no fire risk assessment and no proper procedure had been put in place by the defendants to be followed in the event of a fire
  • The fire alarm system was inadequate, not properly maintained and did not connect to the main hotel
  • There was no emergency lighting in emergency routes and exits
  • The emergency exits from both the basement and ground floors were obstructed by combustible materials
  • There were loose cables and the first floor and an unfitted carpet which could have led to a fall if the building needed to be evacuated
  • None of the internal doors had self-closing devices or smoke seals.

 

Posted on 19th April 2011 at 1015 by Andrew Lynch. Comment by emailing andrew.lynch@pavpub.com