A Feltham business owner whose premises were a "potential tinder box" has been hit with a £7,000 fine and six-month suspended prison sentence for breaking fire safety laws and putting the lives of his customers and tenants at risk.
Umar Khyyam, who ran the Red Chilli Pizza takeaway and shisha bar Mist Café in Staines Road, as well as letting a flat on the first floor, was sentenced at Hammersmith Magistrates Court on Monday (April 24).
He admitted three offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
London Fire Brigade (LFB) fire safety officers had been called to the property by Hounslow Council in February 2015 after its inspection raised a number of concerns.
- A large hole in ceiling above an electrical distributor board. Looking through it, officers could see the floorboards of the flat above, meaning a fire could rapidly spread
- The commercial kitchen ceiling was made of plywood, which would accelerate a fire and cause it to spread upstairs
- There was no fire door between the business premises and the flat’s stairs
- The stairs to the flat were not adequately protected, and there were only timber slats separating the businesses below and the flat above
The brigade’s deputy assistant commissioner for fire safety, Paul Jennings, said: “This building was a potential tinderbox.
“The fire safety failings our officers found put the lives of those inside this building at serious risk as they would have caused any fire to rapidly spread to the upstairs flat and would have made the stairs unusable, cutting off the only escape route.
“Business have a clear responsibility under fire safety law to ensure that their customers, staff and any people living by their premises are safe from the risk of fire.
“If we find people are ignoring those responsibilities, we won’t hesitate to prosecute.”
Inspectors said the chance of a fire breaking out in the premises would have been high as a commercial kitchen was operating in the building, while the back rooms were set up as a shisha bar.
Fabric wall hangings which had not been fire-proofed were also found, and extension leads plugged into one another in a "daisy chain" effect.
A Prohibition Notice was issued on February 4 2015 by LFB, preventing the premises being used as a business until the required work had been completed. This was lifted in April 2015.
Khyyam, 29, from Surbiton, admitted to:
- Failing to ensuring that the means of escape - the stairs- could be safely and effectively used by ensuring there was adequate fire safety separation between the commercial premises and the residential area of the building
- Failing to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
- Failing to ensure that premises are equipped with appropriate fire-fighting equipment, fire detectors and smoke alarms
He was also ordered to pay £6,880 prosecution costs.
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