London Fire Brigade

Chicken shop owner gets suspended sentence for breaking fire safety laws

10 January 2014

The owner of a fried chicken shop who persistently broke fire safety laws has been handed a four month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay a total of £19,000 in fines and costs, following a successful prosecution by London Fire Brigade.

Amar Malik, who owns and runs the Chicken Spot fried chicken take away on Junction Road in Archway pleaded guilty to 11 offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

When the Brigade’s fire safety inspecting officers first visited the shop in February 2010 they raised a number of fire safety concerns. These included a lack of fire alarms, the failure to provide an emergency escape route from the basement kitchen and the fact that there was no firefighting equipment in the shop.

In addition no fire risk assessment had been undertaken for the property and there was no evidence that staff had received any training in what to do in the event of a fire.

A prohibition notice was served preventing the use of the shop’s basement kitchen and subsequently an Enforcement Notice was served requiring Mr Malik to make the necessary fire safety improvements.

Despite this, and numerous further visits by fire safety officers between 2010 and 2012, there was evidence of continual breaches of both the prohibition and enforcement notices issued by the Brigade.

Malik was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court on Tuesday (8 January).

London Fire Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation Steve Turek said: “Business owners have a responsibility under fire safety law to ensure that people working in or visiting their premises are safe from the risk of fire. If people are ignoring those responsibilities we won’t hesitate to prosecute.

“The fact that Mr Malik persistently failed to  rectify the fire risks in his shop made this a particularly serious case and we are pleased that the court has recognised this in the sentence it handed down to him.”

Ends

Notes to editors

• Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, employers or those who have control over a premises (known as the ‘responsible person’) are required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment and act on its findings. The risk assessment should also identify actions which need to be taken in order to protect the building from fire. It must be kept under constant review and amended if any changes are made to the premises.
• London Fire Brigade carries out around 16,000 fire inspections of premises each year and although the majority of buildings are managed well in regard to fire, there are still too many buildings that do not have an adequate fire risk assessment and as a result have fire exits blocked, inadequate fire alarms or poor training for staff. The Brigade can and does prosecute companies or individuals if there are breaches to fire legislation and though court action is a last resort, recent cases show that the courts will issue fines or even consider prison sentences for serious cases.