08 June 2017
The owner of a private member's club in Sunderland has pleaded guilty for failing to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Acting on information from the public, officers from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service inspected the premises on 22 April 2015 and found several contraventions of fire safety rules.
The Court found that Miss Kathrine High, owner of the club, had failed in her duties to take general fire precautions; carry out a Fire Risk Assessment; provide appropriate measures for fire detection, and provision of clear and available emergency routes and exits.
The front door and only escape route was locked, with the key held by Miss High, and the back door was roller-shuttered. People were allowed to smoke inside the premises and there were candles, flammable wall coverings and equipment posing fire risks, reports the Sunderland Echo.
Jim Wotherspoon, prosecuting on behalf of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “She [Miss High] is just naive, not fully aware of the implications of this, which could have been extremely serious.
“If she had been before the court after a fire and substantial loss of life, you worships would not be dealing with it, but that is the level of risk we are talking about in this matter.”
Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Alan Robson, from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It is always our preferred option to work closely with the business community to provide fire safety education and information. But where necessary we will not hesitate to exercise our legal powers to ensure the safety of the public.”