A London landlord has been fined £160,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 prosecution costs for breaking fire safety laws following a fatal fire in a Hounslow property.
Surinder Rana was found guilty of four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was sentenced on 1 May at Kingston Crown Court.
The fire occurred shortly after 5am on 8 August 2011 at 41 Cromwell Road, which was a house in multiple occupation (HMO) containing 10 people. Four fire engines and 20 firefighters were called to tackle the blaze which affected the ground floor, first floor and loft.
A number of people managed to escape the first floor of the property but one of the residents – Mr Sukhi Singh - was found in the heavily smoke logged kitchen on the ground floor. He was taken to hospital where he died shortly afterwards.
London Fire Brigade fire safety inspectors visited the house the same day and found a number of fire safety breaches including:
• that it wasn’t possible for people to evacuate the premises quickly and safely
• no fire detectors or smoke alarms
• no firefighting equipment
• that no proper fire risk assessment was in place for the property
Following the inspection of the property and the neighbouring house, also owned by Rana and used as an HMO, the brigade issued a prohibition notice, preventing their use as residential accommodation until they had been fitted with suitable fire separation, adequate fire detection and emergency lighting.
Speaking after the sentencing London Fire Brigade’s assistant commissioner for fire safety Neil Orbell said: “Landlords have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe from fire and if they are ignoring those responsibilities and putting the people living in their properties at risk we will not hesitate to prosecute.
“The sentence handed down to Mrs Rana is a stark reminder to landlords that the court’s take fire safety as seriously as we do and that the penalties for ignoring it are severe.”
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