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Derby landlord sentenced for lack of fire safety measures in London Road flats

06 August 2021

THIRUNAVUKKARADU KULADAISAMY, the owner and landlord of flats at 1057 London Road in Derby, has been sentenced to nine months of imprisonment (suspended for two years), fined a total of £50,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £22,861 (as well as an additional £156 as a victim surcharge) for breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Kuladaisamy appeared at Derby Crown Court on Monday 5 July to be sentenced for several breaches of fire safety regulations to which he pleaded guilty at Derby Magistrates’ Court on Monday 7 June.

The contraventions of fire safety regulations were identified when firefighters were called to a fire in the London Road flats on 23 November 2019. Firefighters discovered some fire doors had no self-closers or smoke seals, the kitchen door didn’t close due to a lack of maintenance and the fire alarm system wasn’t working. In addition, there was no evidence of a fire risk assessment having been conducted and fire extinguishers were out of test date.

Lack of fire safety measures

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Fire Protection Group manager Lee Smith said: “Thankfully, no-one was killed or seriously injured in the fire that took place in the London Road flats in November 2019, but that could have been a very different story if the fire had started in a ground or first floor flat and not as it did, in a flat on the very top floor.”

Smith continued: “Due to the lack of fire safety measures, the fire would have been much more serious, putting people’s lives at risk while they slept. The fire and smoke would have spread easily within the common escape routes and, as there was no working fire alarm, residents would not have been alerted, duly placing them at serious risk, particularly so as the fire doors which would have given their flat some protection from smoke or fire were inadequate. Quite simply, this was a fire that could have had a catastrophic outcome due to the lack of fire safety measures in place.”

Further, Smith observed: “Providers of sleeping accommodation including flats, bedsits and houses in multiple occupation must accept that they have a responsibility to ensure the accommodation they provide has a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment in place that’s reviewed regularly and that the measures provided for fire safety including fire doors, fire alarms, smoke detectors and extinguishers are maintained to a suitable standard.”

In addition, Smith stated: “The sentencing of Mr Kuladaisamy sends out a very clear message about the severity of the fire safety breaches found at the London Road property and also that the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service will consider formal action against anyone where breaches of the fire safety regulations are found, and particularly where there’s a failure to comply with any statutory notices issued.”

Regular inspections

Premises known to provide sleeping accommodation are regularly inspected for fire safety compliance by the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service. The majority of these premises are well managed, well maintained and compliant with current fire safety regulations.

Smith concluded: “The Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service will advise and give support to both local and national businesses in respect of the fire safety regulations. We’re always willing to help make sure they comply with the legislation. However, the public should continue to be reassured that legal action will be used when necessary where any serious breaches of the regulations are identified.”