Robert Reilly, the landlord of two blocks of flats in Derby has pleaded guilty to four breaches of the fire safety order. He was also ordered to pay £3,000 in prosecution costs and sentenced to four months in jail, suspended for two years.
Fire inspectors from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue carried out an audit of the flats after a tenant filed a complaint in June 2015. The inspectors found the fire alarm system was completely inoperative throughout the flats. Moreover, no fire risk assessment had been carried out and the emergency lighting was inadequate with some units defective. The problems started in 2007 and initial warnings were given to Mr Reilly by the fire service.
As a result of these breaches, Derbyshire fire and rescue served an enforcement notice requiring improvements to be made by 31 July 2015. However, despite numerous visits Mr Reilly did not complete repairs until September 2015. In addition, no fire risk assessment was carried out until October 2016. Judge Shant, sentencing Mr Reilly, described the fire safety breaches as extremely serious. He also stated that it was very lucky there had not already been a fire.
Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service, Area Manager Alex Johnson said: “The conditions found at Brookview Court were very serious in that tenants were put at risk of death or serious injury. If a fire had broken out in any of the flats, due to the lack of a functioning alarm system, no alarm would have been raised. Anyone discovering the fire would only have been able to raise the alarm by knocking on doors or pressing door bells to rouse residents, by that time, any fire could have developed to prevent their escape down the only staircase”.