A pub owner has been fined £25,000 for fire safety breaches which involved running what a judge said was a “death trap”.

St Albans Crown Court heard that a chimney blaze broke out on the first floor in the pub. The fire investigators uncovered “a series of deficiencies”.

Serious Fire Safety Defects

The fire alarm panel did not have lights or a back-up battery. A smoke detector, located in a bedroom, was covered in clingfilm, allowing someone to smoke in the room without setting off the alarm.

Three bedroom doors either lacked a self-closing device or were missing a seal to secure the room in the event of a fire. Another room had the door wedged open by a carpet and only two of the five emergency lights were working.

Finally, when the fire safety records were reviewed, it was apparent checks had stopped a month before the fire.

The owner, who leased the pub and employed staff to carry out the day-to-day running, admitted six charges of breaching fire safety rules.

In court, the Judge said “He put real people at real risk. You cannot delegate your responsibility.” He went on to tell the defendant “It was genuinely frightening. You were running a death trap. If someone suffered injury or was killed, I would have had no hesitation in saying a prison sentence would be necessary.”

In addition to the £25,000 fine, the owner must pay £6,819 costs.

Source: Hertfordshire County Council