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Community service for landlord after fire safety breach

Landlord Gordon Lee has been sentenced to 12-months' community service and must pay the full costs of his fire safety court case within 28 days.

He had entered a guilty plea to the breach of failing to take general fire precautions at an earlier hearing.

The offence came to light following a serious fire at mixed commercial/residential premises in Stoke-on-Trent back in May 2020. 

Several occupants had to be rescued from the burning building by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue firefighters. 

A number of people suffered from the effects of smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital. One man was admitted with serious burns and his treatment continues, 18 months after the incident.

The premises had been converted from sole commercial use as a recording studio into mixed commercial and residential; that change took place without planning and building regulatory approval.

Howard Watts, director of community safety at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, says: "The fire occurred in the building where people were sleeping. The owner failed to take general fire precautions, placing people at serious risk as smoke and gases from the fire could have killed them.

"Premises owners should recognise that they have a responsibility to ensure that properties have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment in place, which is reviewed regularly, and facilities that are provided for safety from fire are maintained to a suitable standard."

He went on to say: "Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will consider formal action against anyone found to be in breach of Fire Safety Regulations.”

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