30.3.17 Prison sentence for hotelier following fire safety breaches.


The lease holder and operator of the International Hotel in Derby, has been sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, fined a total of £40,000, and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs.

A routine Fire Safety Audit of the International Hotel in Derby, conducted by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, found a series of fire safety lapses.  Mr Gurnam Singh Rai, lease holder and operator of the hotel, pleaded guilty to 4 breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The inspection found a catalogue of safety hazards including that the fire risk assessment had not been acted upon, structural maintenance was insufficient, external fire escapes were corroded, fire doors were found wedged open, defects with the fire alarm and emergency lighting, incomplete staff training and untested fire extinguishers. 

As a result of the findings, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service served an Enforcement Notice on 13 March 2015 with a compliance date of 20 April 2015.

Despite multiple visits and warning, the required work had still not been completed by August 2015, leading to the Fire Authority to commence legal action. 

Alex Johnson, Area Manager for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: 'The sentencing of Mr Rai serves as a harsh reminder of the danger that occupants of the International Hotel would have been placed in should a fire have broken out.' 

'Occupants of the hotel were put at significant risk due to the apparent lack of fire safety precautions and building maintenance. If a fire had broken out, this could easily have led to serious injuries, or the loss of life.' 

Sentencing Judge Coke said: 'I have a duty to make it clear how important these regulations are and, when flouted as they have been, there can be no other sentence than immediate imprisonment.' 

Story collated by Liz Turnbull.

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Registered Office:  Southwold House, 66 Botley Road, Park Gate, Southampton, United Kingdom

Company number: 07810000