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Shop Owner Fined


Shop owner fined for nine fire safety breaches
29 May 2012

A Manchester shop owner has been fined £9000 after pleading guilty to nine breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Ahtezaz Akhtar was handed a fine of £1000 for each breach of the order, plus a further £4200 of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s costs at a hearing on 23 May at Tameside Magistrates Court.
The Best One off licence in Ashton was used as a convenience store and off licence with workers sleeping on the floors above the shop. The premises had no basic fire safety measures in place, and an inspection from a fire officer in August 2011 revealed a litany of dangers.
The 28-year-old independent retailer had failed to undertake a fire risk assessment, despite having owned the business for over three years.
There was no fire alarm system in place, and the upper floors – which were accessible via the only staircase – were left vulnerable to a fire spreading from the shop due to there being no fire doors in place at the top or bottom of the stairs.
The only escape route was via the poorly maintained staircase, which had no emergency lighting, and then through the shop floor.
To further aggravate matters, the shop was secured with roller shutters which would delay or even prevent escape in the event of a fire.
Officers inspecting the premises considered prohibiting the use of the upper floors for residential use until smoke detectors were installed as a temporary measure.
Rachel Wilson, defending, told the court that Mr Akhtar accepted responsibility but at the time was suffering marital difficulties and his father was ill in Pakistan which took his attention away from the property.
Prosecutor Cassie Williams said the aggravating features of the case were that Mr Akhtar had admitted to owning the business for over three years in which time he put the lives of two of his workers at risk.
The full list of breaches of the RRO that Mr Akhtar admitted to were failures to:

  • make a suitable and sufficient risk assessment;
  • provide adequate fire resistance between the ground and first floor which would allow a fire to spread rapidly through the building;
  • provide an adequate fire warning system;
  • provide adequate fire fighting equipment in the form of extinguishers;




News article 1

Shop owner fined for nine fire safety breaches
29 May 2012
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News Article 2

National retailer convicted of fire safety offences
07 June 2012
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