Takeaway business sentenced for multiple fire safety breaches
21 August 2023
CANTERBURY MASALA Ltd has been issued with fines of £4,000, a victim surcharge of £190 and ordered to pay costs of £19,293 for multiple breaches of fire safety regulations, which took place at its Masala Gate premises located in North Gate, Canterbury.
Building safety inspectors from the Kent Fire and Rescue Service visited the takeaway shop in June 2021 and found a number of safety concerns. The offences included not having a fire detection and warning system in place, failing to conduct a sufficient fire risk assessment and inadequate emergency exit routes.
Automatic fire detectors and alarms had not been provided at the premises to safeguard the safety of relevant persons. This failure to comply with Article 13(1)(a) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in the event of a fire episode.
There was no suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons were exposed. This failure to comply with Article 9(1) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire on the premises.
The door leading to the single staircase between the ground and upper floor, which served as a means of escape in the event of fire, was not of fire resisting construction and not fitted with a self-closer and intumescent strips and seals to prevent the spread of smoke and fire into the escape route, resulting in persons not being able to escape as quickly and safely as possible in the event of fire.
Further, a boiler was located directly above the door from the single staircase discharging into the commercial kitchen, which prevented persons escaping as quickly and safely as possible in the event of fire as a result of having to pass directly beneath the boiler, itself not adequately separated from the staircase by fire resisting construction.
This failure to comply with Article 14(2)(b) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury should a fire have occurred on the premises.
Escape routes in the premises requiring illumination were not provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting to enable escapees from fire to negotiate said routes. This failure to comply with Article 14(2)(h) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire.
The company was initially summoned to Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on 26 April this year and pleaded guilty to four breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which put one or more persons at risk of serious injury or death in the event of a fire.
Sentencing took place at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on 5 July.
Suzanna Chisholm, head of building safety at the Kent Fire and Rescue Service, explained: “If you’re responsible for a business, you have a legal Duty of Care to ensure that premises are safe for anyone who works there or visits them. No-one is exempt.”
Chisholm continued: “We hope the sentence issued to Canterbury Masala Ltd will remind other businesses across the Kent and Medway region to ensure they are consistently fire compliant in order to avoid prosecution and, most importantly, to keep everyone safe.”
In conclusion, Chisholm affirmed: “We will always offer support and advice to any business that needs our help. Those who fail to comply with fire safety regulations and put people’s lives at risk will be prosecuted when necessary.”