A landlord and housing co-operative are facing fines of over £15,000 for lack of fire precautions after housing 12 French students in a property which rendered them at ‘serious risk of death’.
The property in question had several dangers, including damaged fire doors, faulty alarms and a complete lack of extinguishers. A raid conducted by safety experts from the fire service also found that the front and back doors could only be locked from the inside, hindering any emergency escape plans.
12 French students and two French carers had been given rooms in the Burnley property by Embrace Co-operation Ltd, which had leased the house from Dr Muhammad Bhatti.
Dr Bhatti and Embrace were found to have put the tenants at serious risk should a blaze start. There were holes in the basement’s ceiling, which would cause the blaze to spread upwards, whilst the lack of firefighting equipment meant added further risk.
Dr Bhatti, 42, was found guilty by Pennine magistrates of four offences under fire safety regulations. These included the failure to provide general precautions, maintain alarms and to ensure emergency routes were usable with easily accessible locks. He was fined a total of £5,320, including £4,000 towards the fire service’s legal costs.
Representative from the service, Warren Spencer, said: ‘The premises contained a number of breaches of fire safety legislation and lack of general precautions that placed the occupants at risk of death or serious injury.’
Lancashire Fire’s group safety manager, Tony Crook, said: ‘We hope this prosecution will ensure that the standard of his properties are kept within the requirements of the law.’