Journalist, Cherry Park

Author Bio ▼

Cherry Park is an experienced freelance journalist and reporter who specializes in features, news, and news analysis, in print and online. She has written extensively in the areas of health and safety, fire safety, employment, HR, recruitment, rewards, pay and benefits, market research, environment, and metallurgy, and she also conducts research.
May 22, 2014

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Hotelier Gets 12 Months and Other Fire Prosecutions

Solicitor Warren Spencer analyses his 100+ prosecutions under the RRO at FIREX International, on 17 June, 1:30pm-2pm in the FPA Zone

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Register your interest to visit FIREX 2014 now.

When: 17-19 June 2014
Where: ExCeL, London

A Walsall hotelier was handed down a 12-month jail sentence for eight life-threatening fire breaches in his 33-bed hotel.

The failings included:

  • A fire exit blocked by mattresses
  • Faulty fire alarms
  • An obstructed landing
  • Faulty emergency lighting
  • No fire detection in the basement, which contained flammable materials

In 2009 Wolverhampton fire officers also found:

  • No proper fire risk assessment
  • Inadequately maintained fire alarms
  • No smoke detectors in some bedrooms
  • Alarms that could not be heard in all areas
  • No staff training

A customer complaint led to the prosecution.

£126,000 Fine After Tenant Complaints

Tenants who were concerned for their safety made their own makeshift escape routes in a property in Crewe, Chester Crown Court heard.

Brothers Colin and Brian Silvester, owners of the property, were fined £82,500 and ordered to pay £44,000 costs after pleading guilty to 11 breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRO).

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) brought the prosecution after a tenant complained about lack of fire safety. The breaches included:

Broken smoke alarms

  • No linked alarm system
  • Escape routes blocked by combustible materials
  • Fire extinguishers that hadn’t been tested since the early 1990s.

Employees Burned Tackling Factory Fire

Two workers suffered burns when hot material from an industrial rotary drier hit them as they tried to tackle a fire at a South Wales factory.

One suffered severe burns to his back, hands and legs.

Pontypridd magistrates heard that after smoke was spotted rising from the top of a tower used to produce solid fuel at Maxibrite’s coal briquette plant.

An inspection hatch at the foot of the tower was opened to release any dust that might be causing an obstruction. When worker Carl Lewis opened the hatch, hot cinders cascaded out, burning works manager Simon Gilbody on the chest, neck and face and engulfing Lewis in hot coals as he tried to close the hatch.

Lewis needed hospital treatment and skin grafts for severe burns.

Steve Lewis, the Health & Safety Executive inspector who prosecuted the case, commented: “The drying process at the plant involved intensive heat so the risks of fire should have been obvious.”

Scrap Metal Firm Fined for Illegally Burning Waste

On Bonfire Night last year Derbyshire FRS was called to a large blaze at the Chesterfield premises of scrap metal firm Richard Fletcher (Metals), North East Derbyshire magistrates heard.

It transpired that coach seats, rubber, metal and vinyl were, in contravention of environmental regulations, being burned on the site, along with soil, plastic, rubber, cardboard, rubble, tyres andfoam chairs. Three burnt-out coaches were also discovered.

The firm was fined £16,000 plus £3,000 in costs in a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency.

2023 Fire Safety eBook – Grab your free copy!

Download the Fire Safety in 2023 eBook, keeping you up to date with the biggest news and prosecution stories from around the industry. Chapters include important updates such as the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and an overview of the new British Standard for the digital management of fire safety information.

Plus, we explore the growing risks of lithium-ion battery fires and hear from experts in disability evacuation and social housing.

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