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NYFRS Urge business owners to take fire safety matters seriously following prosecution

21st May 2012

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service wish to remind all business owners, especially those that provide sleeping accommodation for members of the public or their employees, to make sure that they are providing the correct level of fire safety provisions and correctly managing the premises to ensure that they are not breaching Fire Safety Legislation. This plea follows the prosecution of a York restaurant and its directors.

Following a serious fire on 6th April 2010 North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service carried out a fire safety inspection of 58 Goodramgate, York. The Fire Authority immediately issued a prohibition notice to prevent the premises being used as sleeping accommodation for staff members.

Further enforcement notices were issued to ensure that the fire safety measures were brought up to an acceptable standard. 

Investigations found that the original company liquidated before the required upgrade works were completed.

Further fire safety inspections resulted in new prohibition and enforcement notices being served on the new company Bombay Masala (York) Ltd and its directors. This was because it was found that staff members continued to sleep on upper floors and no fire risk assessment was available, despite one of the directors (a previous director of the former company), Mr Ali Akbar, being in the premises when it caught fire.

A number of fire safety deficiencies had not been addressed, they did not have adequate fire precautions (including not having a fire risk assessment, not having a fully functioning fire alarm or fire detection system and failure to maintain the general fire provisions) and staff had been allowed to sleep on the premises despite there being prohibition notices in force.

Due to the seriousness of these fire safety deficiencies and the blatant disregard of the prohibition notices, NYFRS took the decision to prosecute Bombay Masala (York) Ltd, the business owner Mrs Rohima Khonam and director Mr Ali Akbar.

On April 23rd at York Magistrates Court Mrs Rohima Khonam and director Mr Ali Akbar pleaded guilty in total to 22 contraventions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.   Due to the seriousness of the offences the Magistrates declined to deal with the matter and sent the case to York crown court for sentencing. 

Today (21st May 2012) at York Crown court Mrs Rohima Khonam and director Mr Ali Akbar were sentenced for the offences.  

In summing up the Judge stated that the directors took an irresponsible approach and had a cavalier attitude to fire safety, that the Fire Authority had exercised a degree of patience and understanding and it was inevitable the prosecution had to be brought.

Bombay Masala (York) Ltd and its owner Mrs Rohima  Khonam and director Mr Ali Akbar were fined a total of £10,150 and were also ordered to pay in full £3,829 prosecution costs. In the event of the defendants defaulting on payment of the fines they will be sent to prison for a total of 9 months.

 Ms Karen Galloway prosecuting stated that: “The Fire and Rescue Service’s decision to prosecute was not taken lightly and this measure is only taken in the most serious cases. The Responsible Person is always in a position of authority,  their lack of actions should have been foreseeable to prevent, in the event of fire, persons being put at risk of death or injury. The contraventions in this case were serious and would have continued had the Fire Authority not continued to insist that a prohibition notice and an enforcement notice that they had served on the business and Responsible Person was complied with. ” 

Station Manager, David Watson of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service says; “The majority of business premises that we visit under our audit schedule are well-manage and are conscientious about fire safety matters. We do continue to find a number of businesses and premises, where the fire safety order does apply, which do not have adequate fire risk assessments or fire safety provisions. The conviction of Bombay Masala (York) Ltd, its owner Mrs Rohima  Khonam and director Mr Ali Akbar shows how seriously the Fire Authority and the Courts view those who put the safety of others at risk in the event of a fire.”

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority urge business owners and those with responsibility for any premises, where the fire safety order applies to ensure that they have conducted their fire risk assessment or reviewed any existing fire risk assessment when this is required. It is important that they are aware of the legislative obligations they need to comply with including having an up to date fire risk assessment.

In order to assist the business community to understand their responsibilities under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO), North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service organise a series of information seminars throughout the county.   If you are a member of the North Yorkshire business community and would like to attend one of these seminars, you can register your interest by emailing 

For other fire safety information call the Fire Safety Advice Line (01609) 788545 or visit the business safety section of our website

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