Release date: 26 May 2021
A takeaway owner in Worthing has been ordered to pay more than £3,000 after he pleaded guilty to compromising fire safety.
Khoo Hock NG of Salvington Road, Worthing, appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday where he pleaded guilty to breaches of the Fire Safety Order, compromising not only his own safety, but that of his family and his staff.
The court heard that concerns were raised after firefighters attended a fire in the extraction hood of the takeaway, the New Sunflower Chinese Takeawy, on 9 May 2020. Further inspections of the property found there were no working smoke alarms fitted anywhere in the building, there was only one emergency light in the kitchen and no emergency lighting elsewhere on the premises. There was also no adequate means of escape in the event of a fire, other than through the kitchen.
Fire Safety Inspecting Officers were further alarmed to discover a lack of fire risk assessment in place, and a lack of fire safety training for staff.
Due to the dangerous conditions and fire safety breaches, a Prohibition Notice was served prohibiting use of the kitchen, and an Enforcement Notice detailing the work required to make the building safe was also served. This work has now been carried out to a satisfactory standard and following an inspection on 18 June 2020 both the Prohibition Notice and the Enforcement Notice were withdrawn.
Appearing in court on Thursday, the defendant expressed his remorse and explained that substantial changes had been carried out since the inspection last year, with more than £20,000 spent on remedial works.
After pleading guilty to the breaches in court, he was fined £1,480, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £142 and prosecution costs of £1,641.
Andy Parsons, WSFRS’s Fire Safety Enforcement Manager, said: “We would urge all business owners to ensure they remain compliant under the Fire Safety Order, and if they have any concerns to please come to us for guidance.
“In this particular case, had a fire occurred in the kitchen while the occupants were sleeping, there was no fire alarm to provide them with an early warning and fire and smoke could easily have spread up the staircase due to the lack of a fire door, leading to them becoming trapped on the first floor.
“Fortunately they were lucky on this occasion, as the consequences of fire can be truly devastating.
“As a service we always endeavour to work alongside those responsible for building and occupancy safety particularly working with local businesses to help them address any issues they may be facing. If you have any fire safety concerns, please contact us on 0330 2223333.”