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5 Fire Safety Horror Stories of 2013

Its autumn, the dark nights are drawing in and there’s a chill in the air. With the dark nights comes Halloween where horror stories are told as part of the Autumnal fun. Ghosts and goblins are one thing but when it comes down to real horror stories, the world of fire safety has its fair share and these are certainly not for the faint of heart.

As part of the initiative by the Tower Fire Group to improve the way fire safety issues are dealt with we have collated some of this year’s top real life horror stories regarding fire safety to show what can happen when fire regulations are broken, dismissed and not put into effect. Remember fire safety is important and can mean life or death so ignore these stories at your own peril.

Remember fire safety issues can affect anyone and if the correct guidelines and procedures are not followed you will be in serious trouble.

1. Kettering landlord was jailed after fatal fire. (15th Oct 2013)

Following some serious breaches to fire safety a landlord was jailed for nine months following a fire at one of his properties, which killed a young boy.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service investigated the incident and found there was only one smoke detector in the house and its battery had been disconnected, meaning it did not sound when the fire started.

There were also no fire doors at the premises and the front door could only be opened from the inside with a key, preventing a means of escape for the occupants.

2. Haslington Hall fined more than £23,000 for fire safety breaches.

A FOURTEENTH-CENTURY wedding venue was fined more than £23,000 for serious breaches in fire safety which ‘could have endangered lives.’
The lack of appropriate safety measures at Haslington Hall, a Grade I listed building near Crewe, resulted in the prosecution for numerous high level breaches of fire safety regulations.
These included failure to provide appropriate fire detectors and alarms, and failure to ensure escape routes and exits could be used as quickly and as safely as possible by failing to provide adequate fire resisting doors on the escape routes.

These offences were noted as “An extremely serious case of a business putting people’s lives at considerable risk from fire.

3. Hertfordshire letting agent had to pay £41,200 in fines (21st June)

A Hertfordshire letting agent had to pay £41,200 in fines and court costs after pleading guilty to safety offences in properties they managed.

Strats Estates and Letting Agents Ltd of Harpsfield Broadway, Hatfield, admitted 13 offences at five rented homes in the town.

The charges included several related to fire safety at the properties, which were all houses in multiple occupations.

In some of the properties there was inadequate in smoke detection, fire doors to several rooms and areas of the properties were also found to be defective, a handrail to the stairs was not securely fixed to the wall and some exit doors were a fire safety hazard as they could be kept locked.

4. Retired director of a health spa was handed a four month suspended prison sentence (1st May 2013)

The former owner and retired director of a Clapham health spa was handed a four month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £30,000 court costs for breaking fire safety laws following a serious fire at the premises.

The blaze saw 12 people dramatically rescued by fire crews, among them two women clinging to a window ledge and two other people who had escaped onto the building’s roof.
Offences included a failure to equip the building with appropriate fire detectors, no fire doors on the ground floor and no self-closing doors leading onto the building’s escape routes. The owners were also unable to produce a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment. The cause of the fire was found by London Fire Brigade’s fire investigators to be an electrical fault in a tanning booth

5. Lord Mayor of Nottingham received a suspended prison sentence (January 2013)

A former Lord Mayor of Nottingham received a suspended prison sentence for knowingly breaching fire safety regulations at his company.

Mohammed Munir was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to six separate charges.

He had failed to ensure there was an effective means of escape and was visited by Fire Officers who issued an enforced notice urging him to change his fire safety procedures.
After ignoring deadlines and continuing to trade without ensuring his premises were safe he was ordered to carry out 180 of unpaid work, and pay £4000 in costs.