Landlord pays £158,000 for breaches after tenants flee from blaze



A residential landlord has been found guilty of fire safety breaches, following a fire where his tenants were forced to flee for their lives.

Joseph Ernest Draper, then owner of 9 Hillsborough Terrace in Ilfracombe, Devon, pleaded guilty to four offences under the Fire Safety Order 2005.

Appearing at Exeter Crown Court on 29th March, Mr Draper was ordered to pay a total of £135,000 in fines and £23,000 in costs.

It follows a fire at the four-storey building on 14th February 2008.

The building had been subdivided into flats. The fire, which started on the ground floor spread throughout the property and forced some of the 13 tenants to make their escape by clambering over the roof.

After the fire, Devon and Somerset fire investigators carried out a safety audit of the premises.

They found that the door giving entrance to the ground floor flat was inappropriately constructed to resist fire, which would enable a fire in the flat to spread into the escape route. The offence carried a fine of £75,000.

The three other offences cost £20,000 each, for three doors that had no self closing device fitted. This would also have impacted on fire spread to the means of escape.


Devon and Somerset area manager Nick Manning, said:

“Landlords and owners of properties used as flats should take notice of the outcome of this case - it has sent a clear message with the level of the fine awarded."