Suspended sentence for spa’s fire safety breaches
The former owner and retired director of a London health spa has been handed a four month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £30,000 in costs.
Fire safety officers visited the Common Sense Natural Health Centre in Clapham following a fire in July 2010 which saw 12 people rescued by fire crews. The officers identified a number of fire safety breaches including a failure to equip the building with fire detectors, no fire doors on the ground floor and no self-closing doors leading onto the building’s escape routes. The defendants were also unable to produce a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment.
Winsmill Limited, the company that owned the health centre at the time of the fire, and director Ron Kemeny pleaded guilty to offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.
The defendants were sentenced on 30 April at Woolwich Crown Court. Winsmill was fined a total of £8,000 relating to four offences and ordered to pay nearly £6,000 in costs.
For consenting, conniving or being neglectful in the commission of offences by Winsmill, Mr Kemeny was sentenced to a four month suspended sentence (suspended for 12 months) in respect of the failure to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk; for the failure to appropriately equip the premises with fire detectors; and for no fire doors on the ground floor.
Assistant commissioner for fire safety Steve Turek said: ‘This was a very serious fire. A number of people had to be rescued and the outcome could have been a lot worse.
‘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.’
The cause of the fire was an electrical fault in a tanning booth.