Thursday, 27 November 2014

Curry house owner sentenced over fire safety

hotelier have been sentenced for fire safety offences that endangered residents’ and staff lives.

A worker at the takeaway could have died when a deep fat fryer burst into flames while he was sleeping, Recorder James Baird told York Crown Court.

The man was upstairs at Bilash Tandoori, in Bromley Street, off Leeman Road, when the fire began at 4am on November 10 last year, the court heard.

Sailesh Mehta, prosecuting for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, told the court a loud smash awoke the employee, but his escape route was blocked by DIY material and a door that wouldn’t open. He managed to get out by a different route.

Former boss Mohamin Ahmed, 26, of Evelyn Crescent, Clifton, pleaded guilty to two breaches of fire safety regulations and was ordered to do 240 hours’ unpaid work and pay £1,500 prosecution costs.

For him, Kevin Blount said he had had no training in fire safety and now works as a taxi driver.

Earlier, Mr Mehta told the court how Yoko Banks, 66, put money above safety for years by repeatedly allowing dangerous situations at four of her hotels and a house in multiple occupation in Harrogate and by failing to do fire risk assessments, despite repeated warnings from fire officers.

At one point, officers closed a hotel until she made it safer.

Banks, of Franklin Road, Harrogate, pleaded guilty to ten breaches of fire safety regulations and five of failure to comply with enforcement notices. She was fined £50,000 with £12,000 prosecution costs.

Her barrister, Craig Hassell, said her businesses were losing money. The hotels were being sold by receivers, and she had difficulty understanding the technical aspects of fire safety. She now realised she needed outside help.

Speaking after the cases, fire station manager David Watson said: “Fire officers believe that the breaches of the general fire precautions were such as to result in the risk of death or serious injury.”

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