Property management company prosecuted by MFRA after residents’ lives put at risk

A Liverpool based property management company has been ordered to pay more than £19,000 after a serious fire at flats it operated uncovered a number of fire safety breaches that put residents’ lives in real danger.

Representatives from Holt Property Management appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 6th December. The company had previously pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to nine counts of failing to comply with Article 8(1)(b) of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005, contrary to Article 32(1)(a) of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005.

The company was prosecuted by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority (MFRA) after it uncovered the fire safety offences at 18 Hampstead Road in 2016.

Firefighters were called to the terraced property – which had been converted into eight flats – in the early hours on 27th October 2016. They were confronted by a rapidly developing fire in the building with residents trapped in their flats.

Firefighters in breathing apparatus quickly brought the fire under control but smoke had spread throughout the building, meaning that people were unable to escape. This, combined with a broken fire alarm system and poor fire safety within the building, had put residents’ lives in real danger.

An investigation by MFRA Officers after the fire found no working fire alarm system, blocked fire exits, no emergency lighting and no evacuation procedure.

Chris Head, Group Manager for Protection at MFRA, said: “Holt Property Management had shown a complete disregard for the safety of people who were living in the building and who it was their responsibility to protect.

“Without the professionalism of firefighters who fought the fire that morning and rescued a number of people, lives would almost certainly have been lost.”

MFRA looks to support the business community and provide advice and assistance to ensure that those responsible for fire safety in buildings can maintain the highest standards of safety to keep people safe.

GM Head added: “Make no mistake, when people deliberately break the law and put lives at risk, we will investigate those responsible and prosecute them through the courts.”

Holt Property Management was fined a total of £2,250 and ordered to pay £17,000 in costs.