Arson probe finds fire safety breaches

FIRE WRECKAGE: The arson at Grimshaw Street caused serious damage
FIRE WRECKAGE: The arson at Grimshaw Street caused serious damage
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A resident fleeing a blaze in a block of flats was forced to run past the flames to escape, due to fire safety breaches that left her unable to get out any other way, a court has heard.

Another man who escaped a ground floor flat was almost struck by two PVC windows which failed under the heat and toppled three storeys into the back yard.

The fire was set deliberately by drunk resident Kathleen Dawson, 43, who lived in the three storey property at Grimshaw Street, Preston, on June 14 last year.

She had ran to a taxi office over the road and asked them to call 999, but it was later found she had started the fire, torching the entrance hall outside her second floor flat and the blaze spread, blocking the only means of escape on the second floor.

She is serving a three year jail term after admitting arson recklessly endanger life.

Now the firm which runs the building, and its director have admitted 10 fire safety breaches including an inoperative fire alarm system and lack of fire separation between the flats and means of escape.

The firm that runs the property - 3i Investments Ltd - and director Faisal Hussain, 41, of Gorse Road, Blackburn, both pleaded guilty to 10 fire safety breaches after a prosecution by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service at Preston Crown Court.

Prosecuting, Joe Hart said 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 2nd floor flats, adequate fire safety signage, adequate maintenance of the existing fire alarm system, and failure to provide a sufficient fire evacuation procedure.

Sentencing is on November 3.