Posted March 25, 2024

Company Directors Found Guilty Of Endangering Lives With Fire Safety Breaches

In a shocking development, two Directors of a West Bromwich based company, have been sentenced to prison for endangering residents’ lives due to flagrant violations of fire safety regulations. This revelation, brought to light by the West Midlands Fire Service, underscores the severe repercussions of disregarding fire safety protocols.

The transgression occurred at Metro Court, a four-story residential complex located on High Street, West Bromwich, predominantly occupied by residents. During routine inspections, West Midlands Fire Service uncovered serious breaches of fire safety regulations. Despite receiving a prohibition notice from fire safety inspectors, the Directors and their company persisted in compromising the safety of approximately 80 residents.

The inspection revealed alarming deficiencies, including the absence of power to the building’s fire alarm system, its malfunction, presence of combustible materials in the staircase, and multiple fire doors wedged or propped open. These critical lapses warranted the issuance of a prohibition notice, barring the premises’ residential use. However, subsequent visits revealed that residents continued to inhabit the premises, prompting swift intervention from the fire service.

As a consequence, around 80 individuals residing in Metro Court faced the imminent risk of death or serious injury. Following a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, the Directors were found guilty of nearly 30 breaches of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In their absence, a 48-year-old director was sentenced to 34 months in prison, while the other, aged 34, received a 33-month sentence. Additionally, they were ordered to cover prosecution costs amounting to £66,708.

In November 2016, following a referral from Sandwell Council, fire service officers visited Metro Court, originally an office block, and identified numerous fire safety violations. Despite subsequent revisits over the following months, people were still found to be residing there, according to the service’s statement. The two Directors fled the UK in 2018 and were found guilty of offences in 2024.

In this case there were almost 30 beaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This highlights the size of the task when considering all elements of fire risk assessment at your business premises. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 is a statutory instrument applicable in England and Wales. The Order places the responsibility on individuals within an organisation to carry out risk assessments to identify, manage and reduce the risk of fire.

SS Systems are UK wide experts in fire risk assessments and fire safety related matters for all commercial location types. This case highlights the need for company Directors to consider all obligations and consider going above and beyond when it comes to fire safety. Contact one of our team for a comprehensive discussion on 03300 417170.

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