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.
July 14, 2014


Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed

Locked Fire Doors and Disabled Smoke Alarms Sees Blackpool Hotelier Receive Record Prison Sentence

fire door keep shut signThe owner of a dilapidated Blackpool hotel has been given the longest ever jail sentence for 15 breaches of fire safety law that posed a serious risk to life after he rented a derelict former hotel that had been closed down to four tenants.

Preston Crown Court heard that an investigation by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) revealed that apart from the front entrance, all other fire exits in the squalid New Kimberley Hotel had been nailed or chained shut, or blocked with obstacles such as broken beds.

Gas cylinders and combustible materials were stored close to the only exit; investigators found no emergency lighting, disconnected fire alarms, and no working fire alarm system.

Peter Metcalf was put behind bars for 18 months and ordered to pay £5,243 in costs. The court was told he had threatened fire officers with legal action, delivering what looked like home-made writs.

Lancashire’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Dave Russel, said: “This is the longest custodial sentence handed out by a court since this offence was introduced seven years ago. There is no doubt that had there been a fire in the hotel, people would have been seriously injured or killed.”

Large fine for recycling company

A Sheffield tyre reclamation firm has been fined £30,000 for breaching fire safety laws following a large fire at its Attercliffe site in June last year in which a worker was injured.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue found that Monckton Coke & Chemical Company did not have a suitable or sufficient risk assessment and that staff were being placed at risk due to lack of training and equipment and a lack of planning for emergency situations.

The company pleaded guilty to six charges. It was fined £5,000 per charge and ordered to pay £9,900 in costs by Sheffield magistrates.

Huge fine for care home after “truly shocking” fire breaches

A prosecution by the London Fire Brigade led to almost £70,000 in penalties after a catalogue of failures was found in a care home near Croydon that housed 17 people, many elderly, with dementia and other disabilities. Investigators found blocked and inaccessible fire exits, an out-of-date fire risk assessment, no emergency plan and an inadequate fire detection system.

Morven Healthcare pleaded guilty to five Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (RRO) offences at Croydon Crown Court and was fined £45,000, with full court costs of £23,488. Concerns had previously been raised by health and social care watchdog the Care Quality Commission.

The statistics on care homes in London where vulnerable elderly residents are put at risk of fire are pretty shocking. According to the LFB, there are ten fires a week in London’s care homes, whilst a third of fatalities in accidental fires in the capital last year were people receiving care services.

Fire protection company owner gets suspended prison sentence

A man who had been banned from servicing fire extinguishers until he could demonstrate he could carry out such work competently has been given a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and fined £1,000, for ignoring the ban.

Ross Ward, trading as A1 Fire Protection, had been issued with a prohibition notice in December 2013 preventing him from servicing extinguishers, but despite this, he had attended a children’s nursery in Douglas, Isle of Man, in February this year to undertake servicing work on the fire extinguishers.

The nursery was supplied with replacement fire extinguishers, properly serviced, while its own were removed and examined for any inappropriate maintenance issues that could have led to potential safety problems.

Businesses in the Isle of Man were warned by a member of the Manx government to check that the companies they employ to maintain their fire extinguishers are able to carry out the work to the required standard.

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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