Takeaway landlord fined over fire safety breaches
Date published: 10 March 2012
A takeaway landlord has been fined after he breached fire safety rules and potentially put the lives of workers in danger.
Abdul Mannan, aged 53, of Stafford Road, Ellesmere Park, was convicted of six offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in relation to the Shabna Tandoori, Monton Road, Eccles.
He was fined £400 for each of the six offences (£2,400), ordered to pay Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s costs of £5,786 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge at Manchester City Magistrates’ Court on Friday, March 9.
Fire Safety Officers inspected the shop on April 13, 2011, and found the first and second floors were being used for sleeping - directly above the commercial kitchens.
The takeaway business on the ground floor meant that there was an increased risk of fire due to the commercial catering equipment, open grills and oils used for preparing food.
No fire risk assessment had been carried out and there was no fire alarm system in the building. The only stairs to the upper floors led directly from the kitchen - and had combustible items on the staircase at the time.
None of the doors in the building were fire doors so, had there been a fire, smoke, heat and the fire itself would have spread onto the escape route.
There was no emergency lighting meaning if a fire occurred and the electrics failed there would be no way of seeing the way out - in an area filled with smoke this could have created a significant risk.
Officers were so concerned about the safety of the workers sleeping upstairs that the upper floors were prohibited for sleeping on the same day.
Prosecutor Warren Spencer explained that a risk assessment would identify the high risk nature of the premises and should have identified that a fire alarm and fire doors were needed and the emergency exit was not acceptable.
Mr Spencer said: “Had a fire occurred within the kitchen, the only way out of the building for people upstairs would lead them directly into the fire.”
Mannan has owned the building since 1986 but told the court that he was not responsible as another company had leased the building and takeaway business from him in April 2010 and only left in May 2011 after Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service inspected.
Fire Officers interviewed Mannan twice and he explained to them that he was doing work to the building, referred to the takeaway workers as his staff and had even signed a certificate for the Prohibition Notice.
In court, Mannan claimed he had only done this as the business owner, spoke poor English and he had misunderstood officers when he was interviewed.
He told the court that the lease meant that the tenant was responsible for the lack of fire safety precautions, he used one room as an office but did not have control of the building.
District Judge Robinson convicted Mannan of all charges. He said: “You came across as an intelligent man, however in places you were not credible or reliable. The lease you have gave you a significant degree of control, you knew people were sleeping there and you carry some responsibility.”
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter O’Reilly said: “This complete disregard for the law, and the subsequent danger to life these premises posed, meant we had no option but to seek action through the courts.
“We undertake significant activity in our communities educating landlords and business owners about their responsibilities to make their premises safe for people to use. And we are willing to advise and assist wherever possible.
“But let it be clear that failure to meet fire safety regulations will result in Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service taking legal action.”
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