Mr Gurnam Singh Rai, the manager of the International Hotel in Derby, has been sentenced to 6 months in prison. He has also been fined a total of £40,000 and ordered to pay costs of £20,000. Mr Rai pleaded guilty to 4 breaches of the fire safety order following the discovery of numerous unsafe fire safety practices at the hotel.
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service carried out a routine Fire Safety Audit and compliance assessment of the hotel on 20 January 2015. They discovered numerous findings of the fire risk assessment had not been acted upon. In addition, they found the following failings:
- Inadequate fire precautions
- Insufficient structural maintenance
- Corroded external fire escapes
- Wedged open fire doors
- Defected emergency lighting
- Fire extinguishers had not been tested
- Incomplete staff training
Subsequently, the hotel was issued an Enforcement notice on 13 March 2015 with a compliance date of 20 April 2015. Following numerous visits and warnings, the work required still had not been completed by August 2015. As a result, the Fire Authority had no choice but to commence legal action.
Area Manager for Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, Alex Johnson, said: “The sentencing of Mr Rai serves as a harsh reminder of the danger that occupants of the International Hotel would have been placed in should a fire have broken out.
“Occupants of the hotel were put at significant risk due to the apparent lack of fire safety precautions and building maintenance. If a fire had broken out, this could easily have led to serious injuries, or the loss of life.”
Upon sentencing Judge Coke said: “It is quite clear to me that there was an unwillingness to spend monies and no intention to comply for the safety of guests. The entire history of this case expresses a cavalier attitude to the safety of guests. I have a duty to make it clear how important these regulations are and, when flouted as they have been, there can be no other sentence than immediate imprisonment.”