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Press Release - Torquay landlady pleads guilty to five fire safety order offences
Posted on 17/07/2017

A Torquay landlady has pleaded guilty to five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Mandy Fox, the landlady of 18-20 Market Street, Torquay, appeared before Torquay Magistrates Court on Monday 17 July 2017 and was fined £7,000, reduced from £10,500 for an early guilty plea, and ordered to pay £4,000 in costs to Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and a victim surcharge of £140.

In March 2016 the Service inspected the premises at 18-20 Market Street as part of a multi-agency initiative. The property consisted of four floors; a public house on the ground floor with letting rooms above.

The inspection revealed a number of failings including:

• a lack of a suitable fire detection and warning system, in that the second and third floor had no provision for detecting fire and raising the alarm, and the first floor had just one standalone detector ;
• lack of emergency escape lighting;
• Inadequate protection to the escape route serving the upper floors due to the lack of fire resisting doors;
• Electrical items and quantities of unsecured combustible materials stored in the escape routes; and
• Breaches in the fire separation between the public house and accommodation above.

Due to the level of risk to which the occupants were exposed the Service prohibited the use of all three upper floors.

The investigation revealed that Ms Fox was providing accommodation for overseas students. A fire risk assessment had been carried out at the premises but had only considered the ground floor area. No consideration had been given to the upper floors of the premises and risks to which students sleeping on the premises were exposed.

Group Manager Paul Bray, Business Safety Manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “The severity of the fine imposed by the court shows that those responsible for the safety of others cannot ignore their responsibilities.

“Fire safety provisions must be suitable for the use and size of the premises and sufficient to ensure in the event of a fire, people are alerted and can leave the premises quickly and safely.

“Information and guidance is freely available. Ignorance is no excuse.”

DSFRS Business Safety Officers will always work with and support those businesses that take their fire safety responsibilities seriously but will not tolerate those that put people at risk.

Further advice and guidance can be found on the governments’ website


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