A landlord in Devon and a care home in Newcastle-upon-Tyne have been hit with substantial fines in two recent prosecutions under the Fire Safety Order.

Joseph Draper was fined a massive £135,000 and ordered to pay £23,000 in costs after pleading guilty to four offences under the legislation.

Mr Draper was the owner of a property in Ilfracombe that suffered a fire in February 2008. The premises was subdivided into flats up to four stories high. The fire, which started on the ground floor, spread throughout the building. Thirteen people escaped, with some of them having to clamber over the roof to get away from the flames and smoke.

A subsequent fire safety audit of the premises by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service found it did not have adequate fire precautions for the type of use that it was being put to.

 

In a separate case, the owner and manager of a residential care home in Newcastle were fined more than £22,000.

Tirsul Limited, the owner of Bowland Lodge, pleaded guilty to five offences under the Fire Safety Order, in relation to a fire at the home in August 2009. Fire crews found one of the fire exits had been nailed shut and a padlock fitted.

A follow-up audit by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service highlighted further contraventions, including the lack of a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment, lack of compartmentation, inadequately maintained floors, walls and ceilings to prevent fire spreading, and an unsafe external escape route due to building work.

Tirsul Limited was fined £18,750 and ordered pay £1,600 costs. In addition, Linda Parkin, the manager of Bowland Lodge, was fined £2,000 with £400 costs after pleading guilty to one charge relating to a locked fire exit.