fire safety

10 Jun 24

A landlord has been sentenced to six months in prison – suspended for 18 months – and 250 hours community service after admitting to violating fire safety laws.

Ahmed, of Sheffield appeared at Sheffield Crown Court having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to six charges of failing to comply with articles under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Eleven people were trapped inside the building on Sheffield when fire broke at around 3.25am on 25 February 2022.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus located the people, staying with them until the blaze was extinguished and the property could be ventilated.

The single stair case in the property also collapsed during the incident, causing a firefighter to fall through the stairs.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Business Fire Safety Inspecting Officers found no fire alarm or emergency lighting, poor standard of fire doors and no stair case ventilation, following a post-incident investigation.

His Honour Judge Robinson concluded there must be a custodial given the seriousness of the offences, the fact they relate to two premises, to multiple breaches of the regulations and that there was a real risk of serious harm to people.

Ahmed was sentenced to six months in prison on each of the offences to run concurrently. This sentence is suspended for 18 months. 

He will be required to complete 250 hours of unpaid work for the benefit of the community. He is ordered to pay £10,000 of prosecution costs at £1000 per month.

Handing down the sentence, His Honour Judge Robinson, said: “Mr Ahmed was wilfully not caring about the safety of individuals. There had been a dreadful fire, which resulted in a firefighter falling through the stairs. It could have been catastrophic and was in my view, a near fatal fire.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Andy Strelczenie, said: “Landlords and other responsible persons are responsible for preventing fires in the first instance. Should a fire then occur in a building they are responsible for, other protection measures become absolutely critical.

“This fire could have had a catastrophic outcome had it not been for the highly skilled professionalism of our firefighters. Due to the lack of fire safety systems and management within this premises, it was extremely fortuitous in this instance that people did not die.

“This sentence is a reminder to all responsible persons that we can and will prosecute people when they fail to adhere to the laws which are there to keep people safe.”

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