London Fire Brigade

Building owner receives suspended sentence for fire safety breaches

14 September 2011

A Camberwell building owner has today received a six month sentence suspended for 12 months after being found guilty of breaking a number of fire safety laws.  He was also sentenced to 150 hours of community service and told to pay over £13,000 in costs.

Mr Saif Ahmed was found guilty of four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order following a trial at Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 1 June 2011. Mr Ahmed had already admitted three other offences at an earlier hearing on Friday, 8 April 2011.

London Fire Brigade fire safety inspectors visited his property at 27, Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR on 9 December 2009. The basement and ground floors of the building are used as a takeaway restaurant and the first, second and third floors of the property, were being used as sleeping accommodation with five bedrooms.

Following their inspection, officers reported a number of fire safety concerns with the upper floors of the building. These included having no fire alarm or emergency lighting; the bedroom doors were not fire resistant or self closing; the staircase from the ground to second floor was not fire protected and there was no alternative means of escape from the sleeping accommodation. Inspectors also found no evidence of an emergency plan and that no fire risk assessment had been carried out, which would have highlighted these shortcomings.

Assistant Commissioner for fire safety regulation Steve Turek said:

“It is essential that building owners understand their responsibilities under fire safety law. London Fire Brigade works hard to ensure individuals and companies understand their responsibilities under fire safety law and only use prosecution as a last resort but this verdict sends out a clear message that if they ignore fire safety then they will face serious penalties.”

Notes for editors

At a hearing at Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court on 8 April 2011 Mr Ahmed admitted the following three contraventions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005:

*Lack of a fire risk assessment

*Lack of an emergency plan

*No automatic fire alarm or fire detection system

Following a trial at Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 1 June 2011Mr Ahmed was found guilty of the following four contraventions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005:

*There was no emergency lighting

*The doors to all the bedrooms were not fire resisting and were not fitted with self closers

*The staircase from the ground to second floor was not fire protected

*There was no lobby protection on the first floor landing

*There was no lobby protection between the second and third floors

 *There was no alternative means of escape from the upper floors and the exit discharged into the restaurant

 Mr Saif Ahmed has to complete his community service within 12 months. The total costs he was ordered to pay was £13,324.16.