Restaurant fined for fire safety offences after arson attack
A restaurant owner and one of his employees have had to pay a total of more than £20,000 after pleading guilty to numerous fire safety offences.
Kamruz Zaman, of the Red Ginger restaurant in Bushey, Hertfordshire, pleaded guilty to seven offences and employee Adiel Choudhury pleaded guilty to eight offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at Stevenage magistrates court on 1 December. Mr Zaman was fined £5,750 and Mr Choudhury £6,000 for the offences, and together with costs of £9,161 and victim surcharges, had to pay a total of £20,941.
The fire was started deliberately on the ground floor in the early hours of Friday 9 July 2010. An employee of the restaurant sleeping on the first floor was woken by the smell of smoke which had engulfed the premises, according to Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. He had to escape by climbing up through a roof window, sliding down the roof and dropping to the ground.
Fire crews wearing breathing apparatus entered the premises to search for other occupants and extinguish the fire. No one else was found despite numerous beds and mattresses found on the first floor. The crews also noticed that the fire alarm system was not working.
Among the offences Mr Choudhury pleaded guilty to were failing to carry out a fire risk assessment, and failure to provide emergency lighting for escape routes. Both defendants pleaded guilty to failing to provide appropriate fire-fighting equipment and detection and alarm systems, failure to appoint one or more competent persons, and a failure to provide safe emergency routes and exits.
“Where breaches of fire legislation are considered so serious that there is a risk of death or serious injury to persons, we will consider prosecution,” said Hertfordshire’s chief fire officer, Roy Wilsher.
“In this case members of the public and employees were put at risk and one employee was extremely fortunate to escape with his life.”