Posted: Friday 19 May 2023, 11:38
Rahim Uddin, the owner of Agra Indian restaurant on Bath Street, Ilkeston was yesterday sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for 18 months following guilty pleas to four breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Mr Uddin was also ordered to pay a £5,000 fine, £5,000 towards court costs and a victim surcharge of £156.
On 6 December 2019, Fire Inspectors from Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service carried out a joint inspection of Agra restaurant with Derbyshire Constabulary. The inspection, which was recorded on a body-worn video camera, uncovered evidence of people sleeping on the upper floors in unsafe conditions. Fire Inspectors found there to be no fire alarm, no structural means to prevent a fire from spreading into the upper floors, and the only escape from the bedrooms was from a ladder through a hole in the floor. As a result of the inspection an Enforcement Notice was served on Mr Uddin; the notice was not complied with.
Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service Station Manager Robert Leverton said: “Had a fire occurred in this building, the lack of a fire alarm would have meant that anyone sleeping upstairs would have had insufficient warning to get out. The conditions of the upper floors were so dangerous that even with an alarm, escape would have been almost impossible, this put life at risk of death or serious injury.
“Providers of sleeping accommodation must ensure they provide safe premises with suitable Fire Safety provisions for their residents. Those responsible for such buildings should assess what is required by undertaking a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment, and then carrying out its actions. Some of these measures that may be required include, fire doors, sprinklers, compartmentation, fire alarms/detectors and escape lighting. The provisions must be maintained to a suitable standard and in addition escape routes must be kept clear.
Station Manager Leverton went on to say: “Sleeping accommodation above shops and commercial premises may be attractive to owners who are looking to make use of unused space. Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service urge anyone doing this to ensure all the Planning and Fire Safety requirements are complied with – this can prevent costly remediation, unlimited fines and potentially custodial sentences.
“Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service will always consider formal action against anyone found to be in breach of Fire Safety Legislation and particularly where they put life at risk or fail to comply with statutory notices. The Service will advise and give support to both local and national businesses and are always willing to help them comply with Fire Safety Legislation.
“Premises known to provide sleeping accommodation are regularly inspected for fire safety compliance by Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, where the vast majority are well managed, maintained and compliant with current fire safety regulations.
For more information regarding business safety visit www.derbys-fire.gov.uk