The landlord and licensee of a Warrington pub have been prosecuted for failing to put in place adequate fire safety measures.
Landlord of the Rams Head Inn in Grappenhall, Punch Partnerships PML Ltd (Punch Taverns) and the licensee at the time Graham Dennett, 61 of Barnswood Close in Grappenhall, both appeared before Warrington Magistrates on Thursday, October 24, where they pleaded guilty to failing to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The case began back on August 5 2011 when a fire involving a tumble dryer broke out at the Rams Head Inn in Grappenhall. As with all incidents at commercial premises Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service carried out a post fire inspection at the premises.
The inspection identified issues with fire safety, including the absence of an appropriate fire exit from the first floor guest and staff accommodation.
Punch Partnerships faced one charge of failing to provide a suitable and safe escape route while Mr Dennett was charged with four offences – failure to provide sufficient firefighting equipment, insufficient testing of smoke alarms and emergency lighting, failure to pass on fire risk and emergency information to staff and lack of a fire risk assessment review.
After hearing the submissions, Judge Knight fined Mr Dennett, £100 for each of the four charges plus costs of £269. Punch Partnerships were fined £2000 plus £8000 costs.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Mark Cashin, said: “We welcome the sentence handed out by the court as this was a serious breach of fire safety. Our aim is always to work closely with local companies giving them all the support and guidance they need to ensure the safety of both their staff and their customers. Prosecution is very much a last resort but in serious cases we will use our powers to enforce the regulations and prosecute offenders.”
Alex Stacey, 62 of Well House Drive, who carried out a fire risk assessment on the property in 2008, was also given a Caution for his part in the failings.
DCFO Cashin added: “I cannot stress enough the importance of businesses making sure that they carry out a robust fire risk assessment. Failure to have one could cost you thousands and more importantly it could cost someone their life. Make sure whoever is doing your risk assessment knows what they are doing – I genuinely believe that there is a risk of people dying due to unqualified and poor quality risk assessors. These individuals are a risk to both life and businesses. Please visit our website to discover more about how to appoint a competent Fire Risk Assessor.”
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that if you are the Responsible Person of premises you must make sure you carry out a fire risk assessment, although you can choose to appoint a ‘competent’ risk assessor to carry out a fire risk assessment on your behalf.