Hotel owner accused of putting ‘profit before lives’
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04 June 2015
The man responsible for running a city centre hotel in Southport, Merseyside, is facing jail after admitting to a number of fire safety breaches at the property.
Mr Stewart Woods admitted to six breaches of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, and was accused by prosecutors of ‘putting profit before lives’.
A visit from inspectors from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service in 2013 found a number of breaches, including a lack of power to the building’s fire alarm panel.
Significantly, there was also found to be no sufficient separation between the basement and ground floor, meaning a fire would would potentially have spread through the entire building rapidly.
Mr Woods was handed a prohibition notice banning guests from residing on the upper floors on the building, but two follow up inspections found that he had ignored the notice.
The court heard that if a fire had broken out in the basement, nobody from the upper floors would have been able to escape due to the speed with which flames would have engulfed the staircase.
Warren Spencer, prosecuting on behalf of the fire service, said: “It is an aggravating feature of this case that the defendant can’t plead ignorance to the risks.
“He was made fully aware by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and he continued to put people at risk.
“Nobody has been injured and there has been no fire. But this legislation puts in place things to control and protect and make sure people are safe, because when a fire occurs it’s too late.”
Mr Woods will be sentenced on 1 July.
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