Lancashire firm fined £10,000 after flat fire

The aftermath of a fire at Grimshaw Street, Preston

The aftermath of a fire at Grimshaw Street, Preston

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The owner of a firm in charge of a building described as a death trap by fire chiefs has received a suspended jail term.

It follow an arson attack in a three storey block of flats on Grimshaw Street, Preston, in which a resident was forced to run past flames to escape, due to fire breaches that left her unable to get out any other way. Another resident was almost struck by two windows which failed under the heat and toppled into the back yard.

The fire, which took 20 firefighters to tackle, was set by drunk resident Kathleen Dawson, 43, who lived there on June 14 last year. She was given a three-year jail term after admitting arson recklessly endangering life.

The firm which runs the property - 3i Investments Ltd - and director Faisal Hussain, 41, of Gorse Road, Blackburn, have been sentenced by Judge Heather Lloyd at Preston Crown Court after admitting 10 fire safety breaches.

Hussain was given six months jail, suspended for two years, with 240 hours unpaid work, while the firm was fined £10,000.

The court heard the charges related to a failure to provide adequate fire separation between the means of escape and the flats, failure to provide a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment and review the existing assessment. failure to provide effective fire safety management, an adequate alarm system, adequate fire doors to one of the second floor flats, adequate fire safety signage, adequate maintenance of the existing fire alarm system, and failure to provide a sufficient fire evacuation procedure.

The court also heard there was a “failure to co-ordinate and co-operate” between 3i investments Ltd and Mr Hussain in regard to fire safety provisions.

Tony Crook, Group Manager, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Mr Hussain is the responsible person for these premises, and as such has a duty to ensure that people who use his premises are provided with a safe environment. We hope that this prosecution will ensure that the standard of his property is kept within the requirements of the law.”