A takeaway restaurant owner has been ordered to pay more than £4000 for flouting fire safety laws and putting lives at risk.

The prosecution came after a fire involving electrical items, magazines and a suitcase broke out in a second floor bedroom above the Golden Dragon Chinese takeaway, in Totton, Hampshire.

A subsequent fire safety inspection of the premises by Hampshire fire safety officers found that no fire alarm system was installed and no fire risk assessments had been carried out. 

A prohibition noticed was served to the owner, Jia Wu, and he pleaded guilty to both counts at West Hampshire Magistrates Court.

At the hearing, the lay Magistrate said that the standard in the premises fell well below what is required by legislation. She also added that this was aggravated by numerous other risks, including electrical extension cables that were overloaded and an extraction system that hadn’t been maintained properly.

Mr Wu was fined a total of £4483 – £1200 for each offence, costs of £1963 and a £120 community surcharge. 

Steve Foye, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Community Safety said: ”We work closely with businesses to help them with their duty to comply with fire safety law, ensuring the safety of our community and making Hampshire safer, but where their responsibilities are not taken seriously, the Service will always consider prosecution. 

“We would like this case to act as a timely reminder to business owners throughout Hampshire that the Fire Safety Order is in place. The safety of the public is our primary concern. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will continue to utilise all the powers available to us in enforcing fire safety legislation."

Original sources

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service 

ITV News 

Southern Daily Echo 

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.