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Prosecution of Business Owner in Scarborough

13th January 2014

In the early hours of 3rd May 2013 a serious fire occurred at Jet 2 Spa’s, 5 Durham Place, Scarborough. The premises were being used for the manufacture of Jacuzzi bath tubs, however it was also apparent to attending fire officers, that the first floor of the premises had been converted to provide living and sleeping accommodation.  An employee of Jet 2 Spa’s had been residing on the premises at the time of the fire and was judged to have been lucky to escape from the fire. 

Further investigations by the technical fire safety team later that morning revealed that there had been serious breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, including lack of adequate fire separation between the commercial and residential parts of the premises and lack of fire detection and warning throughout the premises. Due to the fact that fire safety breaches had been identified and that a fire had occurred endangering the life of the employee, North Yorkshire Fire Authority took the decision to prosecute the responsible person, Mr Seamus McDonald.

On the 13th December 2013 at Scarborough Magistrates Court Mr McDonald pleaded guilty to breaches of articles 8 and 9 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.  Owing to the seriousness of the case the Magistrates committed the defendant to York Crown Court for sentencing on the 10th January 2014.

At York Crown Court Mr McDonald received a 12 month community order of 200 hours unpaid work.  In sentencing His Honour Judge Ashurst said; “It was fortunate that your tenant was not overcome by smoke. You took your eye off the ball with regard to safety – a moments thought would have identified the risks involved with an industrial process and your neglect could have had disastrous consequences

Judge Ashurst stated that the punishment satisfied the public interest in this case which the Fire Authority was right to bring.

Solicitor for the Fire Authority Karen Galloway, said; “It is reassuring to know that the Fire Authority has the support of the courts in progressing cases like this via the legal system.”

Group Manager Peter Hudson from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service added; “Had Mr McDonald conducted a simple fire risk assessment he would have identified potentially lethal failings within his premises. As this prosecution shows the Fire Authority take failures to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order very seriously.”

 If you are a business owner you can find fire safety advice and guidance on our website; https://www.northyorksfire.gov.uk/businesssafety

 

 

 

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