An East End hotel and its owner have been ordered to pay a total of £45,000 for “serious and systemic” fire safety failures which “put staff and guests at risk”.
Act Grange Ltd, which runs The Baytree Hotel in Vicarage Lane, and the company’s sole director Mr Falgun Patel were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court earlier this month after pleading guilty to five breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. If Mr Patel fails to pay his fine, he could face six months imprisonment.
London Fire Brigade Fire Safety Officers visited the 16-room hotel, which is above a traditional East-End pub, in January 2019 as part of a routine audit. During the visit, they found serious fire safety deficiencies including no smoke detection, numerous fire doors tied open and missing or malfunctioning door closers.
Officers also found a first-floor external emergency exit route was being used to store large amounts of rubbish and was blocked along almost its entire length. It led to a gate which was locked and could not be opened by staff.
There was no fire risk assessment in place or any evidence of methodical management of fire safety and on duty staff could not explain emergency procedures. Following the visit, an Enforcement Notice was served on Mr Patel and he was interviewed under caution in relation to the deficiencies. The Brigade then took the prosecution forward to court.