15.9.2016 Manager of Bristol restaurant in court after duck fire in kitchen exposes disabled detectors
The manager of a Chinese restaurant narrowly avoided jail after a fire revealed illegal bedrooms in the kitchen and building.
Calvin Chong Chi Yin ended up in the dock after a blaze exposed a number of fire hazards at the Dynasty restaurant.
Bristol Crown Court heard how a fire started while cooking duck in the St Thomas Street restaurant in March 17 2015.
Fire fighters went to extinguish the blaze and discovered fire alarm detectors had been disabled and covered up, while beds were scattered around the building.
Prosecutor Sam Jones told the court fire escapes were partially blocked and the only exit out of one of the rooms was through the restaurant's kitchen on the second floor.
Tin foil, newspaper and tape had been put over smoke detectors across the second floor of the building, where the kitchen and bedrooms were.
Malaysian Chong Chi Yin, the manager and director of the company, pleaded guilty to six breaches of fire regulations.
Judge Neil Ford QC handed him down a six month jail term, suspended for 18 months, and ordered he paid £2,000 of the £11,000 investigation cost by Avon Fire and Rescue Service.
The judge told him: "Certainly there was a significant risk that people would be put at risk of harm or death as a result of the measures that had been adopted."
Mr Jones said the fire crews were called to the three storey-building at 11am where the fire had started in the kitchen's restaurant.
Six fire fighters went into the building fearing there were people inside and extinguished the blaze.
"What became apparent was that the use to which the building was being put was not just a restaurant and office, but accommodation," the prosecutor said.
"It is the authority's understanding that members of staff who were working at the restaurant were staying there."
Mr Jones said there had been 10 make shift rooms, some with two beds inside, around the building.
The court heard how exit corridors were partially blocked with chairs and other items from the restaurant and fire steps had oil and other goods stored on them. There were also holes in walls and a lack of fire doors that would leave smoke and flames spreading quicker than it should in properties.
Story collated by Liz Turnbull.
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