On Wednesday 30 November 2016, Technical Fire Safety Officers from Bath Fire Station visited The Eastern Eye Restaurant, Quiet Street, Bath, to undertake a fire safety audit.
Concerns about fire safety and obstructed escape routes within the restaurant had been raised previously by a member of the public as well as Bath and North East Somerset Council.
During their audit, officers found multiple failings relating to fire safety, which then led to a full investigation. During the investigation, Fire Safety Officers found that:
- No fire safety risk assessment had been carried out at the premises
- No staff training records were available
- The fire escape was obstructed and found to have no lighting
- The fire detection and alarm system was found to have no power to it and was therefore inoperable
- Internal fire doors were found to have no self-closing devices fitted and some of those that did were either held open with wedges or fitted poorly into their frames.
The case had previously been heard at Bath Magistrates Court, in July 2017, where the defendants The Eastern Eye UK Limited and the Managing Director Mr Abdul Hadi Choudhury pleaded guilty to all offences. Due to the seriousness of the offences the magistrates passed the case to the Crown Court for sentencing.
On Friday 1 September, the defendants attended Bristol Crown Court and were found guilty of serious breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The Eastern Eye UK Limited were sentenced to a fine of £70,000.
Mr Abdul Hadi Choudhury was sentenced to nine months imprisonment - which was reduced to six months for an early guilty plea, suspended for 12 months.
Full costs were also awarded to the prosecution of £8,381.31.
In his summing up HHJ Field, sitting as a Deputy Circuit Judge concluded that there was a “compendium of multiple failings” and that had a fire occurred in the kitchen of the restaurant, it would have been almost impossible for the customers and staff to have escaped to safety.
Group Manager, Steve Quinton, AF&RS said: “The fire safety audit and subsequent inspection carried out by our Fire Safety Officers at the restaurant highlighted serious failings in relation to the legal responsibility of the owners to reduce the risk of fire within the building and ensure people can escape safely if there was a fire.
The sentence handed out by the judge in this case shows what can happen if a business doesn’t take its responsibilities seriously.”
For more information on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and keeping premises safe from fire visit www.avonfire.gov.uk/business-safety