Two bosses of a store with ‘wholly inadequate’ health and safety facilities have pleaded guilty to 29 offences in Court this week.
Company director Ms Fazarna Ali and store manager Mr Waris Ali were sentenced in Cwmbran Magistrates Court in Wales on Wednesday, collectively charged with 29 offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) brought action against the Caerphilly store, Phaze Limited, after tackling a blaze which was ‘narrowly escaped’ by employees and customers on March 12, 2014.
On the day of the fire, Firefighters noticed that several fire escape doors at Phaze Limited were blocked, locked or jammed.
The store’s rear fire exit was reportedly ‘screwed shut’ and completely ‘unusable’, and fire alarms were found to be inactive.
Customers and employees were very fortunate to have escaped through the shop’s front door after the blaze struck.
“It was only a matter of luck that prevented a fire death,” SWFRS officials told a Court.
Summing up the case, Judge Furness, said: “There were a number of breaches of fire regulations and these breaches are serious because they risk life.”
“Both defendants bear responsibility and there is high culpability because the failings were of long standing.”
Both Mr and Ms Ali received four month custodial sentences, and were collectively ordered to pay £7,200 in fines.
Mr Ali was also sentenced to 100 hours unpaid work.