Stratford hotel ordered to pay £45,000 over 'serious' fire safety failures
PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 January 2020
A hotel and its owner have been ordered to pay £45,000 for "serious and systemic" fire safety failures which "put staff and guests at risk".
Act Grange Ltd, which runs The Baytree Hotel in Vicarage Lane, Stratford, and the company's sole director Falgun Patel were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, January 13 after pleading guilty to five breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
If Patel fails to pay his fine, he could face six months imprisonment.
The London Fire Brigade's Dan Daly said: "There were serious and systemic fire safety failures at The Baytree Hotel. What few steps were taken to satisfy fire safety duties were amateurish and half-hearted."
During a routine visit to the 16 room hotel in January 2019, fire safety officers found serious deficiencies including no smoke detection, fire doors tied open and missing or broken door closers.
Officers also found a fire escape being used to store rubbish. It led to a gate which was locked and could not be opened by staff.
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There was no fire risk assessment or evidence of methodical management of fire safety. On duty staff could not explain emergency procedures.
After the visit, an enforcement notice was served on Patel who was interviewed under caution. The LFB then took the prosecution to court.
Mr Daly said: "A fire in a building with serious fire safety failings such as those our inspectors uncovered could have been lethal. The owner has put staff and guests at risk.
"If occupants had tried to escape a fire, they would have found their route unusable, trapping them inside. It was a matter of luck that there hadn't been a fire.
"Whilst we are keen to work with building owners to help them meet their safety responsibilities, we won't hesitate to prosecute and seek the highest appropriate penalties where we find they are not taking those responsibilities seriously."
The defendants pleaded guilty to: no suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment; no alarm or detection; fire doors tied open; missing or malfunctioning door closers; blocked and locked escape route and no staff training.
Act Grange Ltd was fined £20,000 and Patel £10,000 with six months imprisonment if not paid.
Each defendant must also pay half of full prosecution costs of £14,420.