UK: Hotel owner fined in fire safety trial

A hotel owner has paid the price for ignoring fire safety laws and been hit with a £210,000 fine following a successful prosecution by London Fire Brigade. The case was a landmark hearing for the UK fire and rescue service, believed to be the first time that a jury – rather than magistrates or an individual judge – has convicted a defendant under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The Chumleigh Lodge Hotel Limited and its sole director Michael Wilson, had pleaded not guilty to 12 offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The defendants were sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Monday (6 February). The offences date back to 18 May 2008 when London Fire Brigade was called to a fire at the hotel on Nether Street, Finchley. The blaze had spread quickly from a first floor guest bedroom, up a staircase to the floor above and along a corridor. Three people escaped from the fire, two by using the stairs and a third by climbing out of a second floor window. Following the fire, London Fire Brigade fire safety inspectors visited the hotel and raised a number of serious fire safety concerns. These included defective fire doors, blocked escape routes and no smoke alarms in some of the hotel’s bedrooms. Mr Wilson was also unable to produce a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment and was found not to have provided staff with adequate fire safety training.Source: London Fire Brigade press releaseof Feb. 8, 2012

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