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Importance of Fire Risk Assessments
The importance of fire risk assessments has been highlighted after a landlord in North Lincolnshire was told he could be handed a custodial sentence for risking the lives of his tenants. Mr Keith Newsum found himself in front of Grimsby Crown Court after fire alarms at a HMO property failed to go off during a fire in 2014.

The court heard that tenants had been forced to escape the building after a blaze broke out, with a neighbour raising the alarm after spotting the fire. As well as the absence of the correct fire detectors and alarms, the landlord failed to take general fire precautions or provide self-closing fire doors and ensuring fire doors were not wedged open.

Mr Newsum had joined two properties together and locked one of the front doors in order to create one entrance. Due to the fact that two fire doors were left open, oxygen was drawn from the kitchen, the main area of the house and the doorway, creating noxious smoke and heat which then escaped into other parts of the property, helping spread the fire further.

Prosecutor Pascal Bates explained the danger the landlord had put his tenants in due to his failure to have a fire risk assessment undertaken, saying: "This man is a professional landlord. He took upon himself the burden of both fire risk assessment and electrical maintenance, including fire alarm maintenance. He did not do either to the standard he should have done."
To discuss fire risk assessments call Drax on 0345 459 2300 or email


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