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North East business duo prosecuted for breaching Fire Safety Order

10 December 2023

CLEVELAND FIRE Authority has welcomed the outcome of a case heard at Teesside Magistrates’ Court during which two businessmen were successfully prosecuted for failing to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Kambiz Kamyab and Russell Karl Mills – joint owners and ‘Responsible Persons’ for the premises located at 34-36 Borough Road in Middlesbrough – were fined (and ordered to pay costs) to the value of £11,100.80.

Both entered guilty pleas to charges relating to several offences under Article 32(1)(a) referencing a failure to comply with any requirement or prohibition imposed by Articles 8 to 22 and 38 (fire safety duties) where that failure places one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire.

Article 8(1)(b): Failed to take the general fire precautions to ensure the safety of the premises for relevant persons who are not employees. 1.1 Breaches in compartment walls and floors where services pass.

Article 9: A fire risk assessment has not been completed for the premises to identify the general fire precautions required to safeguard relevant persons.

Article 13: Inadequate fire detection and method of giving warning in case of fire. At the time of the resident raising a complaint with fire safety regulators, the premises had no fire detection or warning system installed.

Article 14: Combustible and other items (including a plumbed-in washing machine) being stored on the means of escape.

Article 14: Flat doors are not fire doors: a fire in one of the flats could result in fire (and fire gases) spreading more quickly than would normally be expected.

Inspection of the premises

On 21 April 2022, residents raised concerns with fire safety officers, which then resulted in an inspection of the premises. At the time of the inspection, the flats above 34-36 Borough Road were occupied by four residents within three flats. A fourth flat was being used for storage.

No fire incident occurred prior to the inspection. However, due to the lack of fire safety arrangements as outlined above, it’s reasonable to assume that, if a fire had transpired, then relevant persons would have been placed at risk of death or serious injury.

In order to emphasise the concerns with regards to the lack of fire safety measures within the premises, investigating officers sought – and then issued – a Prohibition Notice for the flats, which subsequently resulted in all four residents being re-housed.

One experienced fire safety officer described the fire safety provision for the premises as being the worst that he had ever seen.

Serious offences

Ian Hayton, chief fire officer at the Cleveland Fire Brigade, stated: “We welcome the outcome of today’s court case, which reflects the seriousness of the offences committed under fire safety legislation. We always seek to work with business owners in the first instance in order to maintain fire safety standards within their premises. Where individuals responsible for building fire safety completely disregard their duties and place people at risk, the Cleveland Fire Authority will not hesitate to prosecute if necessary.”

Hayton added: “We would like to remind all businesses that they have a duty to comply with fire safety legislation. Support is available from our dedicated team of fire engineers. In bringing this case to a prosecution, it demonstrates how seriously we take our responsibilities to protect the lives of those individuals resident in our community.”

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to all non-domestic premises in England and Wales. ‘Responsible Persons’ must carry out a fire safety risk assessment and implement and maintain a fire management plan.