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DFSRS Press Release – Paignton hotel partner fined for fire safety failures

Paignton AppliancePosted on 24/02/2016
The business partner of a Paignton hotel has been ordered to pay £11,500 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to four offences under fire safety legislation.

Peter Wilks, a business partner at the Summerhill Hotel, Braeside Road, Paignton, pleaded guilty to four failures under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in Torquay Magistrates Court on 23 February 2016.

In summing up the Magistrates said: “You have pleaded guilty to these four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at the earliest opportunity.

“However, this was a reckless breach that potentially put lives at risk and over a period of eight years. When told to undertake the necessary upgrades you did this and spent over £25,000 in doing so.

“For the four offences you are ordered to pay £1,500 per offence and a victim surcharge of £120 and to pay full costs of £5,430. This is a total of £11,500 to be paid within six months.”

These offences/charges were as follows:

Article 9 – Failure to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to which relevant persons are exposed in the event of a fire occurring

Article 13 – Failure to ensure that the premises were, to the extent that it is appropriate, equipped with appropriate fire-fighting equipment and with fire detectors and alarms.

Article 14 – Failure to ensure that emergency routes and exits lead as directly as possible to a place of safety and that in the event of danger, for persons to evacuate the premises as quickly and as safely as possible.

Additionally, that emergency doors must not be so locked or fastened that they cannot be easily and immediately opened by any person who may require to use them in an emergency,

and that emergency routes and exits were indicated by signs;

and that emergency routes and exits requiring illumination were provided with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in the case of failure of their normal lighting.

Article 17 – Failure to ensure that where necessary the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises, were subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

On 2 June 2015, Fire Protection Officers attended the Summerhill because concerns had been raised following an earlier basic fire safety check at the premises.

The officers found the following serious deficiencies at the premises:

• Areas of the hotel did not have any automatic fire detection and warning system fitted, including 11 bedrooms.
• A number of fire doors on the bedrooms were below the acceptable standard.
• The doors to the hotel’s kitchens and the boiler room were not to the appropriate standard for fire doors.
• The fire escape route from the rear of the hotel was not signed, did not have emergency lighting provided and did not lead to a place of safety, one route being to a dead end.
• The fire-fighting equipment had not been serviced by an approved contractor for 15 years and the fire extinguishers needed to be replaced.
• The fire alarm system that was installed in part of the building and the emergency lighting that was provided was not being maintained by competent companies or contractors.
• A fire alarm company attended at the premises in 2007 to assess the fire detection and warning system. They found it to be well below the standard for hotels, being to BS5839 Part 1. The hotel was informed what was needed but they never upgraded it.

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Minerva Fire Alarm System

Minerva System Obsolescence


The Minerva Product range of fire detection and alarm equipment manufactured by Tyco Safety Products was placed in its obsolescence period prior to being made obsolete in 2012

There are approximately 35,000 installed Minerva systems worldwide making it one of the most successful fire alarm system ever. First released in 1988, the range will also be the most long lived when it is eventually withdrawn in 2012.

The drive behind the decision to make the Minerva obsolete is a number of legislation changes that have taken place across Europe. The system was designed to the standard of the day which was BS5839 Part 4, a standard long since withdrawn and replaced with EN54 standard. That Fire Security UK Limited current range of digital technology products complies fully.

Fire Security UK Limited range of digital technology products has been in development, trials and release for a number of years with the specific aim of utilising the latest technological advancements coupled with compliance to current and planed build standards and manufacturing legislation.

Fire Security UK are able to offer a planed system upgrade path from Minerva to a digital range of fire system for current networked or individual systems.

Another consideration is performance, Since Minerva was launched over 20 years ago, fire detection technology and algorithms have evolved and now deliver clear improvements in performance and reliability. A modern business deserves the very latest technology to protect its people and vital assets from fire. Tyco Safety Products are acknowledged world leaders in research and innovation and our systems contain many unique features to make it the most advance in the world.

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Accidental Commercial Fire – Exmouth

Fire appliances from Exmouth, Danes Castle and Middlemoor were mobilised to a report of a fire at the above location (further Exmouth crews still attending the fire at The Strand, Exmouth).

The incident involved a commercial property of 2 floors measuring 5m x 8m used as an office space.  The fire was located between the 1st floor and the ground floor. 2 breathing apparatus wearers and 1 hosereel jet were put to work and crews used a thermal image camera to check for hotspots. The fire had travelled into the walls and crews exposed and revealed the walls to dampen down hotspots.

A fire investigation officer carried out further investigations and the cause of the fire was accidental.


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