Severe failings land Whitby restaurateur with £50,000 fine

justiceA former company director has been fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £6,800 in costs for serious fire safety failings at his Whitby restaurant.
On 30 September 2016 at York Crown Court, Azad Hussain pleaded guilty to six contraventions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 found at the Kam Thai (Whitby) Ltd restaurant in North Yorkshire. The company was also fined £6,000 and was told that failure to pay within 14 days would result in 18 months’ imprisonment.
Fire safety officers from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service carried out a fire safety inspection of the premises at 63-65 Church Street in Whitby on 8 August 2015, during which they found serious fire safety deficiencies regarding the accommodation provided for employees.
The breaches included a failure to carry out a written fire risk assessment, and to have a working fire alarm and detection system in place; storage of combustible items within the means of escape; inadequate fire separation; lack of fire training of employees; and failure to comply with an enforcement notice.
In sentencing Mr Hussain, HHJ Jamieson QC said: ‘Had a fire broken out on either the ground or first floor, it is highly likely that there would have been a high risk to life potentially endangering the lives of others. These were extremely serious multiple offences, which continued over a significant period of time, aggravated by a failure to heed warnings given by fire officer.’
Ms Karen Galloway prosecuting stated that: ‘The fire and rescue service’s decision to prosecute was not taken lightly and this measure is only taken in the most serious cases…
‘The contraventions in this case were serious and would have continued had the fire authority not acted immediately by serving an enforcement notice on the responsible person.’
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service station Richard Hanley commented: ‘The majority of business premises that we visit under our audit schedule are well-managed; however, we continue to find premises that do not have adequate fire risk assessments or fire safety provisions in place. The conviction of both the company and Mr Hussain on this matter shows how seriously the fire authority and the courts view those who put the safety of others at risk in the event of a fire.’