Fire safety failings found

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has welcomed the successful prosecution of a landlord who was ordered to pay nearly £23,000 in fines and costs after fire safety breaches.

Mr Thomas Wallace pleaded guilty to 38 charges and was given an overall fine of £19,000 plus costs £3,564.96 and a Victim Surcharge of £170, totalling £22,734.96.

EFRS visited the property in January after being called in by Sussex Police concerned about fire safety.

The fire safety inspector found a number of serious problems including:
A storage room containing a petrol grass strimmer, petrol can, dishwasher and other general items. These all could have posed a risk if there was a fire, causing the entrance hall and single stair to flats above to become impassable from heat and smoke.

  • Fire extinguishers provided in the commonways had not been tested since 2002.
  • There was no fire alarm present or emergency lighting installed.  

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service contacted Hastings Borough Council Housing and worked with them to provide evidence and witnesses as part of their prosecution of Mr Wallace.

The Service also immediately installed interim smoke detection and reduced the risk of fire, so that those living there were safe and didn’t have to be moved to a new home.

Mark Andrews, Deputy Chief Fire Officer at EFRS, said: “The issues in this property were so serious we believed that the lives of those living there were in danger if there was a fire.

“It is simply not acceptable. Landlords, owners and managers must do more to ensure that the properties they are responsible for are safe, and ensure information on fire safety is passed on to residents so they know what to do in case of an emergency.”

Original source

East Sussex Fire and Rescue