Shrewsbury business owner pleads guilty to fire safety offences

On 7 May 2010 Mr Momen Chowdhury, former owner of the business known as The Curry House Mardol Shrewsbury, pleaded guilty at Shrewsbury Magistrates Court to seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Mr Mark Jackson representing Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority informed the court that following a fire safety inspection in 2005 a prohibition notice was issued by the Authority preventing persons from sleeping on the upper floors of the premises. The prohibition notice was issued because the existing fire precautions were totally inadequate and would place persons sleeping at the premises at risk of serious injury or death from fire.

Following an anonymous telephone call in 2007, fire officers attended the premises and found persons asleep in direct contravention to the prohibition notice.

Mr Chowdhury pleaded guilty to all seven offences relating to failing to comply with the prohibition notice, an inadequate fire alarm and detection system, inadequate emergency lighting systems and sub standard structural protection to fire escape routes within the building.

The court heard that since the offences were committed Mr Chowdhury had gone bankrupt and was no longer involved with the business.
Mr Chowdhury was given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Head of Fire Prevention John Das Gupta said 'Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service strive to work closely with the business community to help them comply with their duties under the fire safety order. Where these requirements are not taken seriously we, as the enforcing authority, will always consider prosecution.

This successful prosecution clearly demonstrates how Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service apply fire safety legislation to help ensure the safety of our business communities.

Mr Chowdhury contravened the requirements of a prohibition notice and allowed employees to sleep above the premises when the fire precautions were clearly not adequate. There is no doubt that if a fire had occurred then persons sleeping on the upper floors would have been at risk of serious injury or death.

We would like this case to act as a timely reminder to business owners and landlords throughout Shropshire that the fire safety order is in place and that they have responsibilities under it to ensure the safety of relevant persons'.

14th May, 2010