30 September 2014

Residents have been evacuated from flats and rehomed after the building was deemed a fire risk.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and Torbay Council Housing Standards carried out a joint inspection of the former hotel building in Torquay after concerns were raised about the standards of fire safety in the property, following a serious fire.

The risk to occupants was so significant that the Service issued a prohibition notice preventing the use of the entire building.

Torbay Council also took immediate action by issuing a further Prohibition Order relating 11 apartments.

A spokesperson for the Fire Service commented: “The Fire Service works closely with partner agencies to ensure a consistent and proportionate response when fire safety concerns are raised, working together with the police and Torbay Council, to provide a co-located team as part of the Mayor’s “Rogue Landlord” programme. 

“This case demonstrates the benefits of this collaborative approach, resulting in persons at imminent risk of injury or death from fire being removed from harm.”

They continued: “Both the Fire Service and Torbay Council Housing Standards Team support business and landlords in achieving their fire safety requirements, In many cases fire safety solutions can be simple and not very expensive, with minimal if any disruption.

“The emphasis is first and foremost on assistance and providing advice to secure compliance - enforcement action or prohibition of use of premises is always a last resort.”

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.