Landlord pleads guilty to eight fire safety offences

A Manchester landlord has been fined more than £9,000 after pleading guilty to fire safety offences.
Javed Waraich of Lloyd Street South was fined £9,259 at Manchester City Magistrates Court on 7 November after pleading guilty to eight offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The court heard that Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service officers visited the Premier Convenience store on Wilmslow Road in November 2011 and served an enforcement notice.
The premises is a converted double terraced property with a convenience store on the ground floor and a flat which was an unlicensed house in multiple occupation above, accessed by a separate entrance.
When officers returned in January 2012 to check that the work had been done, they were told that there was a flat above the shop. When they inspected the flat, they found that the conditions were so dangerous that had a fire occurred in the flat or the shop, tenants were at risk of death or serious injury.
There were no fire doors on the bedrooms or kitchens and although a fire alarm had previously been fitted, smoke detectors were missing or damaged and when tested the alarm did not sound.
There was only one way in and out of the flat – a staircase and a series of long landings which had combustible items stored on them. There was no emergency lighting and no fire extinguishers, and the only door out of the flat needed a key to be unlocked. In some areas of the flat there were gaps in the floor large enough that light from the shop could be seen through them.
The court was told that Mr Waraich failed to comply with the enforcement notice served on the shop despite being granted more time to do the work.
The eight offences were:

  • Failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
  • Failing to take measures to prevent the spread of fire to the upper floors
  • Failing to provide an appropriate means of detecting and raising the alarm in case of fire
  • Failing to provide an adequate escape route from the first and second floors due to an excessive travel distance for a single direction means of escape
  • Failing to provide adequate fire resistance to the escape route
  • Failing to ensure that emergency doors were not so locked or fastened so as to be easily openable in an emergency by providing a final exit door that required the use of a key
  • Failing to provide emergency lighting on the escape route
  • Failure to comply with the requirements of an enforcement notice

Cassie Williams, prosecuting for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “The combined effect of the fire safety failings meant any fire would spread quickly and place the residents of the flat in grave danger with a very real possibility they would have had no way out.”

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