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A Tottenham newsagent manager has been handed a suspended prison sentence for fire safety breaches following a serious fire at his shop that injured a resident from a flat above and three firefighters.
Firefighters were called to Hardings Newsagent in High Road, N17, on November 26, 2013 and initially there were no flames visible outside but there was smoke inside the property.
Two firefighters went to search the flats above the newsagents, which was a house of multiple occupation (HMO), and rescued a casualty from the staircase.
They returned into the building to search for other residents but conditions rapidly deteriorated and their exit became blocked. One of the firefighters suffered serious burns and both firefighters had to be rescued by colleagues through a first floor window.
After the fire, a fire safety inspection found there were no working heat or smoke alarms throughout the building, no fire safety emergency escape plan and there was not a fire risk assessment, which are all serious breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
A Prohibition Notice and Enforcement Notice were issued and shop manager Mian Zafar was later prosecuted for breaches of fire safety law. Zafar admitted to three counts while in court on March 7 this year.
Lee Drawbridge, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, said:
“Fire safety is not something to be taken lightly. The fire safety breaches found at this premises meant the residents of the flats above were in obvious danger as there were no working smoke alarms throughout the building and the premises did not have a sufficient fire risk assessment.
“This was a very serious fire which could have had fatal consequences if it was not for the quick and brave actions of all the firefighters who attended on the night.
“We want to work with building owners to help them meet their safety responsibilities, but where we find breaches which place the public and our firefighters at serious risk, we will do all we can with other relevant agencies to ensure that responsible individuals are prosecuted.”
Zafar was given 12 months in custody, suspended for two years and ordered to pay a fine of £5,000 and costs of £10,000 at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, October 26.