Bedsit owner sentenced for fire safety offences
The owner of a Gloucester bedsit has been prosecuted for serious breaches of fire safety legislation.
Mr Moynul Islam, of Gloucester, appeared at Gloucester Crown Court today for sentencing, following a guilty plea on Monday 25th September 2017 for failing to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at 22/24 Ryecroft Street, Gloucester.
Mr Islam was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and a £600 fine for failure to comply with an article 27 notice. Full costs of £2469.01 were awarded to Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service as the prosecuting authority and a victim surcharge of £140.
After hearing evidence from Station Manager Graham Parker, the Fire Safety Enforcement Manager, Recorder G Bebb QC stated that the premises were a fire disaster waiting to happen, there were squalid living conditions and it was a death trap. There was a flagrant disregard of the law and had a fire happened there was a very high risk of death. It was so serious that only a custodial sentence was appropriate.
In July 2016, an inspection of the premises was carried out, supported by Gloucester City Council. Fire safety enforcement officers discovered that unauthorised sleeping accommodation for tenants had been provided on the ground, first and second floors. A fire alarm system had not been provided and the structural fire precautions were insufficient to allow safe escape in the event of fire.
The fire safety breaches were so serious that death or serious injury would be likely in the event of fire. This resulted in the whole premises being banned from use.
Further inspections found that the ‘notice’ was being breached and tenants were still living on the premises.
The defendant pleaded guilty to the following matters:
- Failure to comply with the prohibition notice.
- No fire resistance between floors
- Bedroom doors on the first floor were not fire-resisting.
- Bedroom doors on the second floor were not fire-resisting.
- A kitchen was situated within the first floor escape route.
- Emergency lighting was not provided.
- No fire alarm and smoke detectors were provided.
- A fire risk assessment had not been completed.
- No fire safety information provided to tenants
- No fixed wiring electrical test
- Failure to respond to a request for information
- Obstructed fire exits
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: “Fire safety law is there to help keep people safe. We always prefer a supportive and co-operative approach to ensure owners comply but sometimes legal action is the only option left.
“This prosecution sends a strong message - we will not stand for owners failing to comply with fire safety laws.”
Stewart Edgar, Chief Fire Officer at Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue said that he hoped this would act as a deterrent to all those who risk the lives of others by failing to comply with legislation which has been developed with peoples safety in mind.
“My firefighters and officers works extremely hard to prevent fires and other emergencies from occurring in the first place.
“Part of that prevention agenda is to ensure that those who are responsible for the safety and well being of others comply with the law and keep everyone safe.”