Lee Pemberton, a director of PemCo Investments Ltd, pleaded guilty to seven offences relating to a property above a shop, in Lune Street, Preston. A landlord and his property firm have been ordered to pay more than £33,000 for breaching fire safety legislation.
The offences included failing to provide appropriate fire detectors and alarms; a lack of a suitable fire risk assessment; inadequate fire separation between the basement and the access staircase; a lack of fire safety measures; failing to maintain adequate fire separation between the first and second floors; an unsuitable system of maintenance for the building; and failing to comply with other responsible people to comply with the requirements of prohibitions placed on him.
Pemberton, who had already been prosecuted by the fire service for previous breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, was fined £1,000 for each offence at Preston Magistrates’ Court. He was also ordered to pay £500 costs.
PemCo was fined £3,000 for each offence, totalling £21,000, and ordered to pay £5,520 costs.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service fire safety officer, John Hampson, said: “While we will always work with those willing to address fire safety issues, where unnecessary risks are being taken or management responsibilities flouted, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action.”
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service chiefs said Pemberton put residents at risk of death or serious injury if there had been a fire in the house of multiple occupants.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Paul Richardson concludes,
“Sadly it is sometimes the case that sleeping accommodation is provided without landlords having considered the fire safety provisions which need to be put in place. In our constant drive to make Lancashire safer, our fire safety enforcement teams are actively seeking out such premises. “I hope that the outcome of this particular case sends a clear message that fire safety is a priority issue that should always be addressed before tenants are accommodated.”
“In this instance the consequences of the inappropriate fire safety measures could have led to serious injury or loss of life and circumstances left us no option but to take this action.”
“Landlords and other businesses can be assured that we will continue to support them in complying with the Fire Safety Order and anybody seeking assistance in understanding the requirements of the law can contact their local fire safety department for advice via our website.”
“However, as this case illustrates, while we will always work with those willing to address fire safety issues, where unnecessary risks are being taken or management responsibilities flouted, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action.”