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Landlord pays out nearly £8,000 for fire safety failings at flats

A landlord of a block of flats has pleaded guilty to five contraventions of the Fire Safety Order (2005).

Appearing at York Crown Court for sentencing on 17 May following a hearing last month at Scarborough magistrates court, Ewan McFerren was ordered to pay £5,500 in fines and £2,400 in costs.

The breaches came to light following a serious fire at 14 New Queen Street, in Scarborough.

Fire investigators found he had failed to take general fire precautions and that there was an inadequate fire risk assessment, as well as a lack of fully functioning fire alarm and fire detection system. There was also a failure to maintain general fire provisions and a serious and imminent danger to tenants due to a lack of information about fire safety procedures, the court heard.

Karen Galloway, prosecuting, said: “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 responsible person is always in a position of authority; their lack of actions should have been foreseeable to prevent, in the event of fire, persons being put at risk of death or injury.

“The contraventions in this case were serious and would have continued had the fire authority and Scarborough Borough Council not acted immediately by serving a prohibition notice on the responsible person.” 

The fire, on 25 May 2010, started on the ground floor flat at the property. Occupants of the remaining four flats were only made aware of the fire by passersby shouting up at the windows, according to Richard Hanley, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service station manager.
“The majority of business premises that we visit under our audit schedule are well-managed; however, we continue to find buildings where the legislation does apply, which do not have adequate fire risk assessments or fire safety provisions, said Mr Hanley. ”The conviction of Mr McFerren 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.”

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