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Suspended jail sentence for landlord after 11 trapped in burning building

A landlord has been sentenced to six months in prison - suspended for 18 months - and 250 hours community service after admitting to violating fire safety laws.

Zahir Ahmed, of Sheffield appeared at Sheffield Crown Court having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to six charges of failing to comply with articles under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Eleven people were trapped inside the building on Sheffield when fire broke at around 3.25am on 25 February 2022.


Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus located the people, staying with them until the blaze was extinguished and the property could be ventilated.

The single stair case in the property also collapsed during the incident, causing a firefighter to fall through the stairs.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Business Fire Safety Inspecting Officers found no fire alarm or emergency lighting, poor standard of fire doors and no stair case ventilation, following a post-incident investigation.

His Honour Judge Robinson concluded there must be a custodial given the seriousness of the offences, the fact they relate to two premises, to multiple breaches of the regulations and that there was a real risk of serious harm to people.

Ahmed was sentenced to six months in prison on each of the offences to run concurrently. This sentence is suspended for 18 months. 

He will be required to complete 250 hours of unpaid work for the benefit of the community. He is ordered to pay £10,000 of prosecution costs at £1000 per month.

Handing down the sentence, His Honour Judge Robinson, said: “Mr Ahmed was wilfully not caring about the safety of individuals. There had been a dreadful fire, which resulted in a firefighter falling through the stairs. It could have been catastrophic and was in my view, a near fatal fire.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Andy Strelczenie, said: “Landlords and other responsible persons are responsible for preventing fires in the first instance. Should a fire then occur in a building they are responsible for, other protection measures become absolutely critical.

“This fire could have had a catastrophic outcome had it not been for the highly skilled professionalism of our firefighters. Due to the lack of fire safety systems and management within this premises, it was extremely fortuitous in this instance that people did not die.

“This sentence is a reminder to all responsible persons that we can and will prosecute people when they fail to adhere to the laws which are there to keep people safe.”

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  • icon

    Suspended sentence?😡 I suspect I may agree with SBR when she posts later.😉

  • John Wathen

    Don’t suspend his sentence, double it! Damned elephant in the room again giving us all a bad name & giving more fuel to the Marxist nutter groups!

  • Rob NorthWest-Landlord

    After Grenfell nobody should be getting away with fire breaches like this. 12 months actual jail time minimum.


    Maybe councils could be treated in the same way

  • George Dawes

    Disgraceful is an understatement

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    I wonder why this was such a light sentence?


    I suspect there's a lot here we are not being told 1/2 a story again

  • icon

    Unbelievable…. Firefighter injured … absolutely disgraceful sentence.

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    • S S
    • 10 June 2024 11:08 AM

    Good Landlords want this type of Landlord out of the industry.

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    Well I don’t know the ins & outs of this case as only seen this bit. Luckily no one died or badly injured I think. It didn’t say the cause of the fire at 3.35 am sometimes occupants can be careless even negligent, of course most stairs are wooden and will burn it didn’t say where the fire started. He should have had fire detection, emergency lighting, (extinguishers most important in my book hit it before it spreads) and proper fire doors between let’s. He wasn’t prosecuted for breaching licensing conditions so HMO Licensing mustn’t exist in that area. He wasn’t prosecuted for overcrowding so that mustn’t be the case either. We can’t compare this with Grenfell multi storey where the fire brigades advice caused many deaths by telling them to stay in their flats close their door and leave it to them, that was the general official advice at the time otherwise I believe probably everyone would have been saved, there was a lot of time initially to get out as the fire traveled externally. So I suppose the Judge in this case had a lot of facts at his disposal when arriving at the conclusion he did. So I am open minded on this one on what I know.

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    It would be interesting to know how the fire started.


    Wouldn't it just, no one is going to tell us that


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