Fire reveals failings

09 June 2017

A landlord from York has been handed a £7,000 fine and ordered to pay additional costs after admitting to breaching fire safety rules.

In September last year, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service attended a fire at a block of flats owned by Mr Charles Thornton.

During the incident, which had been caused by an electrical fault near to the fuse board, fire officers found that the fire alarm and detection system provided for the two flats and communal hallway was not working.

Further investigation found that Mr Thornton had not carried out a fire risk assessment.

During an interview he admitted that he had not planned or organised his fire safety responsibilities adequately. The fire alarm and detection system had not been tested, serviced and maintained as it should have.

Station Manager, David Watson of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service officers work closely with City of York Council when dealing with fire safety issues involving flats, houses in multiple occupation and shared houses.

“In this case, following the fire incident, it was found that the landlord was responsible for a number of flats across the city. Having good organisation, planning, control and monitoring of fire safety arrangements is essential for any responsible person.

“Within those fire safety arrangements fire risk assessments and adequate maintenance of fire alarm and detection systems are essential.

“North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will in most cases give responsible persons chance to comply with the legislation before taking legal proceedings.

“However, where cases are found where there is risk to life of death or serious injury in the event of fire, prosecution will be considered and where appropriate taken.”

Ms Karen Galloway prosecuting stated that: “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 serious injury.

“The contraventions in this case were serious and would have continued had the Fire Authority not acted immediately.” 

Original sources

York Press

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue