FBU “horrified” by fatal fire increase

THE FIRE Brigades Union (FBU) has reacted angrily to the release of new figures on fires and fire deaths by describing both the rise in fires for the second year running and the rise in fatalities as ‘horrifying’.
Fire incidents have increased in England by 9% for the year ending September 2017, having already increased the previous year (2015-2016). More worrying still, say the FBU, is that fire fatalities have also increased, even with the death toll of Grenfell taken out of the statistic – 346 people in England died in fires for the period, including Grenfell, compared with 253 the previous year. With the Grenfell deaths removed from the total there were still 22 more people dying in fires than the year before.

The union said that this increase has occurred against a backdrop of severe cuts to the fire and rescue service, which was cut between 2010- 2015 by 30%, with another 15% of cuts being implemented between 2016-17 and 2019-20, according to the Local Government Settlement announcement earlier this week.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said: “All we hear from government when they attempt justification of butchering the fire and rescue service is that ‘fires are down’ – this is now clearly no longer a claim they can make. They wrote off last year’s rise in fires as a ‘blip’ – what will they put it down to this year?

“It isn’t complicated – the fire and rescue service is cut to the bone, and the result is more people dying in fires because crews can no longer respond promptly and in sufficient numbers to tackle fires professionally, quickly and effectively. How many more rises in these worrying figures before they join up the dots? How many more people are going to have to die?

FSM source


Fire breaches found at Wolverhampton property


A landlord from Wolverhampton has been handed a £34k fine for breaching a number of housing rules, including regarding fire safety, at an HMO under his ownership.

Fire hazards, electrical issues, damp and a large pile of waste were all found at the property when council inspectors visited in June.

That inspection followed confirmation that no approval had been sought for the conversion of the property to flats, therefore confirming it was a HMO and should be regulated under the HMO regulations.

The property consisted of two sets of flats – 11 flats in total of which seven were being lived in.

District Judge Murray said: “It was clear that the property was a high fire risk and that candles were being used at the property which also had loose wiring.

“The fact that one of the walls was separating from the structure leaving a gap, together with the blocked means of escape, missing banisters, an inoperative fire alarm system and disconnected smoke detectors created a risk of smoke penetration and injury in the event of a fire.

“Apart from the fire risk the damp throughout the property posed a risk to health.”


Reminder of Business responsibilities and Obligations

We bring these latest fire prosecutions to you to act as a reminder and warning about the responsibilities and legal obligations of business owners to undertake regular fire risk assessments.

Case 1: Landlord charged with a fine and court bill amounting to over £10,000 for serious fire safety issues.

A landlord from York has been hit with a fine of over £7,000 and ordered to pay additional costs after admitting to breaching fire safety rules.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services attended a fire at a block of flats owned by Mr Charles Thornton.

Whilst dealing with an incident that had being caused by an electrical fault near to the fuse board, officers found that the fire alarm and smoke detection system provided for the flats and communal hallway was not working.

Further investigation went on to reveal that Mr Thornton had failed to carry out a fire risk assessment on the property. He admitted that he failed to prioritize his fire safety responsibilities by neither maintaining or testing the fire alarm and smoke detection system.

Mr Thornton was fined £7,000 plus £2,933 prosecution costs and a £170 statutory surcharge.

Source: FIA

Case 2: London Fire Brigade prosecution results in £20K fine for Hotel

The Central Hotel, London owned by The Hoop Lane Trust have been charged with a £20,000 fine for fire safety failures.

Fire safety inspectors from the London Fire Brigade visited the 24 room premises following a small fire in its annex.

When carrying out the checks inspectors discovered that the hotel had no evidence of fire risk assessments, no smoke alarms, smoke detectors or emergency lighting. They also found inadequate fire doors and no evacuation procedures were in place across the building.

An enforcement notice was issued but further follow up visits found that the work required to be done on the premises to improve fire safety standards had not been completed.

In addition to the £20,000 fine the Hotel also had to pay prosecution costs amounting to £15,000.

Source: FIA

Case 3: £75K fine for Landlord who breaches serious fire safety rules.

A landlord from Lincolnshire has been hit with a huge £75,000 fine for a string of serious fire breaches.

Fire and council officers visited the property owned by Mr Paul Turner where they discovered serious breaches of fire safety including: failure to review the fire risk assessment, locked fire exits, blocked fire escape routes and dangerous and inadequate electrical installation.

Overcrowding was also evident with at least 18 occupants living within the property. Mr Turner denied running a HMO ( house of multiple occupancy) but claimed it was a hotel with paying guests. However on inspection it was evident that the premises weren’t suitable for use as a hotel and Mr Turner did not have a license to run a HMO.

Mr Turner broke 13 offences including five fire and safety and eight housing offences.