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York Hotel fined 115K for fire safety failings

A York hotel has been handed a huge fine totalling almost £115,000 after a string of fire safety offences were uncovered at the property, placing guests at risk.

In March last year, fire safety inspectors from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service received an anonymous complaint stating that the fire alarm was not working at the Grade II listed Lamb and Lion pub and hotel.

A fire safety officer visited the building and found that the fire alarm system had been condemned by the fire alarm servicing company some days before their visit, and that despite this, rooms providing sleeping accommodation in the hotel were still being used.

The fire safety officer deemed that the fire alarm system was inadequate as in the event of a fire there was a risk that people would not be given adequate warning, and that even with a night watchman it could not be guaranteed that all residents would be safe.

There were also a number of other fire safety matters which caused concern, including fire doors which were held open and the poor storage of combustible materials in a boiler cupboard and the basement area. The fire risk assessment had not identified all the problems despite the company being made aware of some of the matters which required attention.

Due to the poor fire safety conditions found, a prohibition notice and an enforcement notice were served. The noticed prohibited anyone sleeping in the property or accessing the rear ground floor areas.

The company running the business at the time of the incident was Sloping Tactic Limited part of the trading group HRH which is involved with hotels, pubs and apartments in North Yorkshire and the City of York.     

Sloping Tactic Limited pleaded guilty to three contraventions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £2,863.59 in costs with a surcharge of £170.

In handing down the sentence the magistrate said; “We feel the operator fell well short of the required standard.”

Station Manager, David Watson of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service make visits to buildings when reports of poor fire safety standards are made to us

“Depending on what is found appropriate advice will be given to the business, informal action may be taken or in some cases such as this the necessary enforcement action will be implemented.”

“In this case following the inspection, prohibition and enforcement notices were served. An investigation was conducted because the fire safety problems were so serious. The responsible person had not given sufficient thought to what might happen if a fire had occurred.

“Conducting or commissioning a fire risk assessment is the starting point for beginning to ensure that a building is or can be made safe for people in the event of a fire.”

​The NYFRS went on to confirm that the responsible person rectified the problems with the premises, however the seriousness of the failings warranted a prosecution. 

​Original Source - North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service 
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Rogue Landlord fined 200K for putting tenants lives in danger

Jeffrey Hu aka Weijie Hu from Bewel Property Ltd was recently fined for renting out two properties to tenants in a ‘dreadful state.’

The landlord charged £1000 a month for a room in a house with a rotten balcony and dangerous cooker.

Bewel Property Ltd along with Hu appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court earlier this month. Hu was individually charged and fined £5,000 for the unsafe balcony and live electrical cable. Bewel Property Ltd was also fined £50,000 for offenses committed at a three-storey property in Edenham Way, home to at least six tenants.

The property lacked a safe means of escape in the event of a fire and failure to supply gas and electrical certificates.

District Judge Roscoe said, ‘These are very serious (charges) and the excuses that have been given and the explanation is not satisfactory. You were endangering other people’s lives by having conditions that weren’t satisfactory.’

Westminster Councillor Antonio Cox echoed the Judges’ sentiments, saying, ‘Mr Hu endangered his tenants lives through a complete disregard for their health and wellbeing. His tenants paid rent to live in what amounted to a death trap.

This case should be a warning to rogue landlords that Westminster County Council will ensure they pay heavily through their pockets for housing people in poor conditions.’

In total, Hu and Bevel Property Ltd face £214,000 in fines and costs.

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570,000 pound fine for fire safety breaches which took the lives of six residents

‘The jury at an inquest into the deaths of six people killed in a south-east London tower block fire found "numerous opportunities" were missed to carry out fire safety checks inside the building.’

Judge Jeffrey Pegden ordered Southwark council to pay a £270,000 fine and a further £300,000 in costs after they were found guilty of a string of fire safety offences. The fatal fire at Lakanal House tragically took the lives of six residents. Several critical safety flaws were identified during and after the incident. There were failings with the continued maintenance and upkeep including the suspended ceilings that were not capable of stopping a fire from spreading.

Southwark pleaded guilty to four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire) Safety Order and had their fine reduced from £400,000. Peter John, Southwark Councillor accepted the fine going on to say,

“Some have talked about the need for this case to act as a warning to others, but for us the death of six residents is a stark reminder every day of the terrible cost of failings at Lakanal.” Southwark councillor Peter John

Dan Daly, LFB’s assistant commissioner for fire safety, said:

“The fire at Lakanal House was a particularly harrowing incident and our thoughts remain with the families and loved ones of those who died. Bringing this prosecution against Southwark council has been about ensuring that lessons are learned. All landlords, including large housing providers, such as councils and housing associations, have a clear responsibility under the law that their premises meet all fire safety requirements and are effectively maintained to provide protection in the event of a fire and keep their residents safe.  We want them to take the opportunity provided by this court case to remind themselves of exactly what their fire safety responsibilities are under the law and to ensure that everyone in their premises is safe from the risk of fire.”

All landlords, including large housing providers, such as councils and housing associations, have a clear responsibility under the law that their premises meet all fire safety requirements and are effectively maintained to provide protection in the event of a fire and keep their residents safe.

To discuss any questions raised from this or to find out more about the legislation and fire protection, contact us on communications@draxuk.co.uk or call 0345 4592300

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Social Media Increases Fire Threat

Recent examples of which can be seen at a Red Hot Chilli Pipers Gig in South Ayrshire. A fire alarm went off during a packed festive fanfare with an evacuation procedure that took an estimated 15 minutes to complete.

Revellers described the process as “organised chaos”; alarms could not be heard over the band playing and once the crowds did start to vacate they gathered on the street outside resulting in doorway blockages which slowed others attempting to get out.

Potentially a disastrous scenario, the incident is now being investigated by the local council.



Thankfully this was a false alarm and no one was hurt but serves to exemplify that large gatherings of people equal severe health and safety threats, even when ‘properly’ co-ordinated.

What if an event is not ‘properly’ organised or the scale and volume of people has not been considered?

This is where Social Media plays a part. Only a handful of weeks ago, we saw the full scale of catastrophe which can take place within a building, further afield in Oakland. A total of 36 people tragically lost their lives when a warehouse being used as a large-scale dwelling caught fire. National Fire Protection Association President Jim Pauley said in a statement at the time.

"In Oakland, the changing occupancy of that building may have only been known to those who lived or worked there, not to the fire service or other officials," he said. "This is likely a scenario happening in other places around the country.

The ability to attract large numbers of people to an unknown venue is easy through new ways of social media. Couple that with the rate of speed, things can go from bad to worse when there are blocked or not enough exits and lots of combustibles."

Landlords, business owners, building managers, facilities and estates directors are all accountable when it comes to life safety in their premises. It is essential you remain compliant and know the true risk attached to your building.David Burns of South Ayrshire Council echoes this when he commented on the Red Hot Chilli Pipers gig, ‘Although the event organisers are ultimately responsible for health and safety during their event, we need to ensure that our facilities remain fit for purpose’.

Reducing false alarms and managing real ones correctly is essential. Social media being used to attract larger numbers to an event should simply be positive. Make sure this is the case. Keep your business premises compliant and ready for the unexpected.

If anything within this article resonates with you or you simply require reassurance that your building is in safe hands. Do not hesitate to give us a call 0345 4592300 or email communications@draxuk.com

Drax Services have been successfully providing independent alarm management supply and maintenance solutions for the last twenty years.


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