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Fire safety breach costs newsagent thousands
10:46am Friday 18th January 2013 in News
A NEWSAGENT who admitted breaking fire safety laws has been ordered to pay thousands of pounds by a court.
Yakub Patel, owner of Hayhurst News, in Walshaw Road, Bury, was fined £1,000 by Bury magistrates after pleading guilty to four counts of fire safety offences.
The 65-year-old was also ordered to pay costs of £1,994.
Patel was prosecuted by the fire service after a specialist fire protection officer noticed there was residential accommodation above the shop during an inspection in July, 2011.
The three-storey building had an office and store room on the first floor and a flat used by Patel on the second floor.
There was no fire alarm inside the building and the only escape route from the upper floors was not protected from smoke or fire.
The back gate was locked with a padlock, so anyone escaping from a fire at the back of the building would find themselves trapped in a small back yard.
Officers were so concerned that a prohibition notice was served to prevent the second floor being used and restrict the use of the first floor to storage only.
Patel admitted in interview that he had not carried out a fire risk assessment.
Craig Gee, representing Patel, told the court that he took the matter seriously and had since spent more than £32,000 installing a state-of-the-art fire alarm system beyond the level needed.
Peter O’Reilly, the fire service’s director of protection and prevention, said “Unfortunately, Mr Patel has learned the hard way that as a business you must consider fire safety. As a result of his ignorance, he now has a criminal record.
“I would urge all small businesses to review their fire risk assessments and if they don’t have one, to do it as soon as possible.”