A company that owned warehouses in west London has been prosecuted for breaching fire safety regulations.
Bourne End (Investments) was fined nearly £40,000 after a fire ravaged its warehouses on Trout Road, Yiewsley on March 21st 2011 for 11 hours, according to Get West London.
At the height of the blaze, 20 fire engines and more than 100 firefighters were at the scene tackling it. No one was injured, but approximately 30 employees and 40 local residents were evacuated.
Having been called at 11:21 GMT, the fire services brought the fire under control at 22:24 GMT.
The estate was subsequently demolished after the devastating blaze. Earlier in January, plans to rejuvenate the site and build flats, business space and a dementia home were approved by Hillingdon Council.
When fire brigade safety inspectors had previously visited the site, they found the fire alarm system had not been properly maintained, while no fire risk assessment had been undertaken.
Bourne End (Investments), an estate management company based in Finchley, north London, admitted to these two offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at Isleworth Crown Court on January 17th 2014. A fine of £10,000 was awarded for each and it is also liable to pay the prosecution’s costs of £19,514.
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “This was a very serious fire, which not only destroyed a number of businesses, but also disrupted the lives of many people.
“The fact that the alarm system on the industrial estate was not being properly maintained could also have put people’s lives seriously at risk and it is fortunate that no one was injured.”
He added that building owners have a responsibility under fire safety law to ensure people working in or visiting the premises are safe from fire. He said the brigade would not hesitate to prosecute such property managers if these responsibilities were found to be neglected.
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a ‘suitable and sufficient’ fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.