A hotel owner from Barnet has become the first person to be convicted by a jury under the 2005 Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.
Michael Wilson, Chumleigh Lodge Hotel’s sole director, has been ordered to pay a fine and legal costs totaling £260,000.
The fire spread quickly from a first floor bedroom, up a flight of stairs and along the corridor of the floor above. Three people escaped from the fire (one was forced to jump out of a second floor window).
Following the blaze, fire inspectors determined that the hotel was inadequately prepared to deal with a fire. Concerns included blocked escape routes, faulty fire doors and no smoke alarms in some of the bedrooms. They also concluded that Mr Wilson had not provided his staff with adequate fire safety training.
After being found guilty of six offences, Mr Wilson was fined £180,000 and the corporate defendant, Chumleigh Lodge Hotel Ltd, was fined £30,000. Both were instructed to pay the £50,000 legal fees and £2,000 compensation to the guest who escaped from the second floor window.
“Business owners have a clear responsibility under fire safety law to ensure that both the public and their employees are as safe as possible from the risk of fire,” said Cllr Brian Coleman, chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.
“This verdict sends out a clear message that if these responsibilities are ignored we will not hesitate in prosecuting and people will face serious penalties.”