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Whitby Restaurant owners fined over £50,000 for serious fire safety breaches

During the inspection, Fire Safety Officers found a number of serious fire safety deficiencies regarding the accommodation provided for employees
Failure to pay the fine within 14 days will result in 18 months’ imprisonment

On the 8th August, 2015, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service carried out a fire safety inspection of The Kam Thai (Whitby) Ltd Restaurant, 63-65 Church Street, Whitby.

During the inspection, Fire Safety Officers found a number of serious fire safety deficiencies regarding the accommodation provided for employees. This included a failure to carry out a written fire risk assessment, a failure to have a working fire alarm and detection system in place, storage of combustible items within in the means of escape, inadequate fire separation, lack of fire training of employees, and a failure to comply with an Enforcement Notice.

Six contraventions

At York Crown Court on Friday 30th September, 2016, Mr. Azad Hussain, former Company Director of Kam Thai (Whitby) Ltd, pleaded guilty to six contraventions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Mr. Hussain was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £6,800 in costs. The company The Kam Thai (Whitby) Ltd was also fined £6,000. Failure to pay the fine within 14 days will result in 18 months’ imprisonment.

Endangering lives of others

In sentencing Mr. Hussain, HHJ Jamieson QC said: “Had a fire broken out on either the ground or first floor, it is highly likely that there would have been a high risk to life potentially endangering the lives of others. These were extremely serious multiple offences, which continued over a significant period of time, aggravated by a failure to heed warnings given by Fire Officers.” 

Ms. Karen Galloway prosecuting stated that: “The Fire and Rescue Service’s decision to prosecute was not taken lightly and this measure is only taken in the most serious cases. The responsible person is always in a position of authority, their lack of actions should have been foreseeable to prevent, in the event of fire, persons being put at risk of death or serious injury. The contraventions in this case were serious and would have continued had the Fire Authority not acted immediately by serving an Enforcement Notice on the responsible person.”

“Had a fire broken out on either the ground or first floor, it is highly likely that there would have been a high risk to life potentially endangering the lives of others”

Inadequate fire safety provisions

Station Manager, Richard Hanley of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “The majority of business premises that we visit under our audit schedule are well-managed, however, we continue to find premises, which do not have adequate fire risk assessments or fire safety provisions in place. The conviction of both the company and Mr. Hussain on this matter shows how seriously the Fire Authority and the Courts view those who put the safety of others at risk in the event of a fire.”

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind business owners that it is important that they are aware of the legislative requirements they need to comply with including having an up to date fire risk assessment.

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