18 November 2014

A restaurant owner has been sentenced to 240 hours community service and ordered to pay £1,500 prosecution costs after pleading guilty to several breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The offences came to light after a fire at Bailash Tandoori, York, in November 2013. Fire crews were called out to the premises after a fire broke out in the kitchen of the takeaway restaurant.

An employee, who lived above the restaurant, managed to escape the building but suffered minor burns.

Fire officers found that the building’s fire safety measures were not up to the required standard. There was no fire alarm or fire detection system. The escape route from the accommodation above the restaurant was not fire protected.

In sentencing  Mohamin Ahmed, the judge said that the breaches were serious and that the staff member who escaped could have easily lost his life.

Ms Karen Galloway prosecuting said: “The Fire and Rescue Service’s decision to prosecute was not taken lightly and this measure is only taken in the most serious cases. The Responsible Person is always in a position of authority, their lack of actions should have been foreseeable to prevent, in the event of fire, persons being put at risk of death or injury. The contraventions in this case were serious.”

David Watson, of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, commented: “In premises where sleeping takes place, it is vitally important that the correct measures are provided and maintained. When fire alarm and detection systems are not provided or not maintained in full working order those people who are sleeping in a building may well have their lives put at risk of death or serious injury in the event of a fire.”

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.