Greyhound pub tenant sentenced

Published: 23 Nov 2018

Following an investigation by Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue, the tenant of a Hertford pub who breached fire regulations must serve a community order.

On Tuesday 20 November at St Albans Crown Court , Ella Rowley (23) of Holly Walk, in Welwyn Garden City, was sentenced, having previously pleaded guilty to an offence under Article 13 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

She was given a community order to undertake 40 hours of unpaid work. Full costs were awarded of £2,979.37 and a victim surcharge of £85.

The charge relates to a fire that broke out in the Greyhound public house on Bengeo Street, Hertford, on 11 January 2017. Rowley was the tenant of the property at the time of the fire and accepted, through her plea, that she failed to discharge her duty under Article 13 to ensure that the premises were ‘equipped with appropriate fire-fighting equipment and with fire detectors and alarms’.

The defendant’s sister was resident in the premises at the time of the fire and was lucky to have been rescued by firefighters without injury.

In sentencing, the judge took account of Rowley’s early guilty plea and her full co-operation with the investigation. He also noted Rowley’s previous good character and the personal impact on her as a result of her breach of duty having put a family member at significant risk.

However, he emphasised that there has to be a recognition that fire safety offences are serious.

Terry Hone, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “The defendant’s sister was extremely fortunate to escape from the premises without injury, in light of the absence of automatic fire detection. It was only the prompt deployment and actions of the firefighting crews that prevented a terrible tragedy.

“This sentence sends out a powerful message to the public that simply ignoring fire alarm requirements is extremely serious.”

All businesses should ensure that they, or a competent person, carry out an appropriate fire risk assessment. For advice and support, please contact our Fire Protection team on 01707 292310.