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Suspended prison sentence for building owner’s fire safety breaches

By January 29, 2013Blog

A London building owner has been given a six month suspended prison sentence after being convicted of seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Saif Ahmed was sentenced on 14 September after being found guilty of four offences at a trial at Tower Bridge magistrates’ court on 1 June 2011. Mr Ahmed had already admitted three other offences at an earlier hearing.

He was also sentenced to 150 hours of community service and told to pay over £13,000 in costs.

Fire safety officers visited his property in Camberwell Church Street on 9 December 2009. The basement and ground floors of the building are used as a takeaway restaurant, while the first, second and third floors were being used as sleeping accommodation with five bedrooms.

Officers found a range of fire safety breaches on the upper floors of the building. These included having no fire alarm or emergency lighting; the bedroom doors were not fire resistant or self closing; the staircase from the ground to second floor was not fire protected; and there was no alternative means of escape from the sleeping accommodation.

The inspectors also found no evidence of an emergency plan and that no fire risk assessment had been carried out.

“It is essential that building owners understand their responsibilities under fire safety law,” said assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation, Steve Turek.

“London Fire Brigade works hard to ensure individuals and companies understand their responsibilities under fire safety law and only use prosecution as a last resort, but this verdict sends out a clear message that if they ignore fire safety then they will face serious penalties.”

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