Massive blaze revealed failings

25 April 2016

A Liverpool landlord has been handed a fine of £40,000 and ordered to pay £6,000 in prosecution costs after admitting to breaching five fire safety rules.

Mr John Gregson, who owned a three storey building consisting of flats above a Chinese restaurant, admitted to not installing a fire alarm after a massive blaze nearly resulted in fatalities.

Warren Spencer, prosecuting, said: “It’s not as if there was a fire alarm that wasn’t working. There was no fire alarm.”

Firefighters were called to the premises in the early hours, and had to rescue several residents, including a pensioner who had injured her knee trying to escape.

Mr Gregson admitted failing to maintain adequate fire safety separation, carry out a fire risk assessment, maintain a working smoke alarm, provide fire-resistant doors and provide emergency exits with emergency lighting.

Recorder Simon Medland, QC, said: “You have provided a comfortable and well-loved home for tenants over the last 30 years.

“Behind that façade is the undeniable fact there were gross breaches of the necessary fire regulations required. There was not even a fire alarm.

“It was a matter of blessing and chance that nobody was gravely injured or even killed.”

Speaking after the hearing, fire safety officer Stewart Martindale said: “Mr Gregson failed to provide even the most basic fire safety measures, including a working fire alarm and self-closing devices on flat doors.

“This led to a number of residents on the second floor being trapped by a fire within a flat because the escape routes became smoke-logged.”

Original source

Liverpool Echo