Security News

May 9, 2013

Former health spa director given suspended prison sentence for fire safety breaches


A retired director and former owner of a health spa in London has been given a four-month suspended prison sentence because of a breach of fire safety laws.
A retired director and former owner of a health spa in London has been given a four-month suspended prison sentence because of a breach of fire safety laws. Ron Kemeny and Winsmill Limited, which owned the Common Sense Natural Health Centre on Clapham Common South Side at the time of a huge fire in July 2010, pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. Twelve people were rescued by fire crews during the conflagration, with others hanging off a window ledge and two people escaping onto the roof of the premises. At the time, four fire engines attended the scene and six people were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. An electrical fault in a tanning booth was later found to be at fault for the conflagration. However, investigations from local fire crews in the aftermath revealed that there had been a failure to equip the building with suitable fire detectors, no fire doors and no self-closing doors leading onto escape routes. Furthermore, neither defendant could provide a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment, which needs to be completed by law. Following the successful prosecution brought by the London Fire Brigade, assistant commissioner for fire safety Steve Turek said that those who haven't taken fire precautions seriously in the past must do so in the future. "This was a very serious fire. A number of people had to be rescued and the outcome could have been a lot worse," he noted. "The sentence handed down today sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to prosecute if we believe that building owners are ignoring their responsibilities under fire safety laws. It also shows that they will face serious penalties if they put lives at risk." Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, employers or those who have control over a premises (known as the ‘responsible person’) are required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment and act on its findings. If the assessment is found to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.