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Fire Authority Prosecution of Thirsk Businessmen

25th March 2009

At Northallerton Magistrates Court on Monday 23rd March, two Thirsk businessmen each pleaded guilty to seven offences under fire safety legislation - Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The case was brought by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority (NYFRA) following a serious fire at the Black Lion, Market Place, Thirsk on 28th November last year.

Appliances from Thirsk, Northallerton, Ripon and Easingwold, plus the aerial ladder platform from Harrogate, were needed to tackle the fire. During the incident, two employees had to escape from the building - one by using clothing to cover their face against the smoke and crawling along the floor, the other using a builder's ladder to climb out of a first floor window. The employees were asleep at the time of the fire and were only woken by the heat of the fire.

Investigations by NYFRA revealed a number of fire safety deficiencies including a fire alarm and detection system that was not working, depriving employees of an early warning of the fire.

The two businessmen were fined £7,000 and £4,550 respectively, plus costs of £1,980 giving a total cost of £13,480.

Group Manager Trevor Lund said: "Thankfully, at this particular fire there were no injuries but with no working fire alarm and detection system, this incident could have easily turned into a tragedy.

"Local businesses, especially those in the licensed trade, must make sure they have the proper fire safety arrangements in place. For example, if the business provides sleeping accommodation for staff or guests, extra fire safety measures may be necessary.

"We are here to provide free advice to local businesses and are always willing to help and support businesses to make sure they comply with the fire safety legislation. However, we do take any breaches of fire safety very seriously and will use legal sanctions where necessary."

For more details on the free advice available, call North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service on 01609 780150

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