Serious fire safety law breaches at London flat lead to £20k fine and prison sentence
The London Fire Brigade has prosecuted a West London building owner after major breaches of fire safety law were discovered following a significant blaze on 9 August 2018.
Three years ago, firefighters were called to a fire at a flat above a shop on Queensway in Bayswater, West London. It took 70 firefighters and 10 fire engines to control the blaze that destroyed half of the four-storey building. Two women were rescued from the building and treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.
Fire investigators found that the building owner had failed to carry out a fire risk assessment for the building, didn’t have adequate fire protection measures in the building which meant that safe evacuation was not possible, and there were no fire alarm or smoke detection systems in place.
Building owner, John Kyriakides pleaded guilty to three breaches of the Fire Safety Order when he appeared at Southwark Crown Court. He was sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for 12 months, fined £20,000, and ordered to pay £11,500 prosecution costs.
Following the successful prosecution, the Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Paul Jennings, said: “Breathing apparatus crews who entered the building reported heavy smoke logging inside and they were unable to see anything but worked hard to tackle the blaze and prevented it spreading to other parts of the building, fortunately without any serious injuries.
“Our inspectors found failings in the building which amounted to a serious breach of Mr Kyriakides’s duties and showed a disregard of any proper fire safety measures and therefore a disregard for the safety of his tenants. Failings in fire safety measures also pose a heightened risk to firefighters who are already doing a dangerous job.
“There’s no excuse for leaving people’s safety to chance, especially when information is so readily available to those with responsibility for safety in buildings to understand what their duties are and ensure they comply with the law.”
Fire safety in 2020 eBook – A year of challenges and change
Download the Fire Safety in 2020 eBook, from IFSEC Global and FIREX International, to keep up-to-date with the biggest stories of the year. It includes the latest legislation, Grenfell Tower Inquiry revelations and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected professionals in the sector.