Fire Service wins court case against hotel owner endangering life of guests

Date published: 26 May 2010

On the 25 May 2010 at Bolton Magistrates Court Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) successfully prosecuted the owner of the Pack Horse Hotel, Bolton for Breaches of Fire Safety Legislation.

The owner of the hotel, Dr Subhash Jajoo, entered a guilty plea to five counts of breaches of fire safety duties under articles of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety)Order 2005. Subsequently Dr Jajoo was fined £5000 with costs of £10000.

The prosecution was the result of a fire safety complaint about a blocked fire exit at hotel in December 2008. When the complaint was received by GMFRS a fire safety officer attended that evening and dealt with the immediate issue, but during a follow up inspection a number of serious breaches of fire safety duties were discovered. These included twelve defective fire doors, a defective call point, obstructions to the escape routes (including carpets, a table and an air conditioning unit), sixteen defective emergency lighting units and ten fire extinguishers not being maintained properly.

During the investigation Dr Jajoo was interviewed several times, initially admitting to owning the hotel, but consistently denying any responsibility for managing the business. Dr Jajoo finally admitted responsibility at the very late stages of the investigations.

Cllr Paul Shannon, Vice Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority said: “We welcome the clear message from the courts that action will be taken against those businesses that neglect fire safety and thereby risk the public’s safety. The Fire Authority is focussed on helping businesses operate safely and taking action when they don’t”.

Jim Owen, Assistant County Fire Officer (Fire Safety) said: “We always support businesses that work to make their premises safe for people to use. However, we are also willing to take action to protect the public of Greater Manchester where business owners and managers choose not to treat fire safety as a legitimate business requirement, and where necessary will prosecute serious offenders”.

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