Hastings fast food shop fined for breach of fire safety regulations

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A fast food shop in Hastings has been prosecuted after it was found to be in breach of fire safety legislation.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (ESFRS) recently brought the case against Erol’s Kebab, in Queens Road.

The case was heard at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on April 28 where Ceyhun Varol pleaded guilty to both counts of a breach of prohibition notice for which he was ordered to pay fines and costs of £4,811.27.

ESFRS business safety inspectors visited the property on July 9, 2014.

During this visit inspectors identified that the escape routes from the upper floors were inadequate, as the only means of escape was down a single staircase which lead directly into the commercial area.

It was also found the premises were not fitted with an adequate fire detection or alarm system.

ESFRS said the conditions were deemed so severe that people were being placed at risk of death or serious injury and a prohibition notice was issued the same day, which immediately prevented sleeping from taking place on the upper floors and basement areas.

A follow-up visit was carried out by business safety inspectors at the premises on August 17, 2016, where Mr Varol admitted sleeping on the third floor of the premises and inspectors observed beds and bedding.

On September 9, 2016 a further visit was conducted where again Mr Varol admitted to sleeping at the premises.

In court, magistrates commented how it had taken Mr Varol more than 31 months to rectify the issues in order for the prohibition notice to be withdrawn and the disregard of the notice in force.

Mark Hobbs, business safety department manager, said: “This outcome reinforces the importance of using enforcement as an appropriate measure to ensure restaurants and takeaways do not breach fire safety standards, specifically illicit sleeping on these types of premises.

“We hope that this conviction sends out a strong message to restaurant and takeaway owners in the area that sleeping accommodation above a commercial kitchen represents a significant risk to life, unless adequate fire protection and precautions are in place.

“Businesses have a clear responsibility under fire safety law to ensure that their customers, staff and any people living on, or near, their premises are safe from the risk of fire. If we find people are ignoring those responsibilities, we won’t hesitate to take appropriate action, which may, in certain circumstances, include prosecution.

“Following the issue of the prohibition notice Mr Varol was given the opportunity to rectify the issues identified.

“His failure to act placed people’s lives at risk by allowing the bedrooms to be used, which was a clear breach of fire safety law.

“East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind restaurant and takeaway owners, with sleeping accommodation above their commercial kitchen, that it is their legal responsibility with regards to fire safety.

“Failure to comply with a prohibition notice is a very serious offence indeed.

“We would recommend that other restaurants ensure that a competent person carries out a fire risk assessment, which will identify any areas of concern in the fire safety measures. These deficiencies should then be addressed in a timely manner.”

If any businesses have any concerns, require help or assistance in meeting their requirements they can either visit www.esfrs.org/business, contact their local business safety officer or even attend one of the ESFRS free safer business events, which can be viewed here.

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