East Sussex residential care company directors fined for breach of fire safety regulations

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Directors of an East Sussex residential care company have been fined more than £120,000 for breach of fire safety regulations.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) said Thuraisamy Ravichandran, director and company secretary and Radha Ravichandran, director of Care Pro (Southeast) Ltd pleaded guilty to all 12 offences at Brighton Magistrates Court in April before being sentenced at court on Tuesday (July 9).

The pair were fined a total of £124,455 as a result of the breaches under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

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This requires all responsible persons to carry out and record a fire risk assessment considering the risks from fire to all persons legally on or in the vicinity of the premises.

The requirements apply to all non-domestic premises and the non-domestic parts of multi-occupied residential buildings, such as communal corridors and stairways.

ESFRS said fire safety inspecting officers visited Park Apartments, in Egerton Road, Bexhill on October 31, 2022 and found four breaches under the order, namely a failure to discharge duties regarding general fire precautions, risk assessment, fire-fighting and fire detection and maintenance.

They also visited Eden Lodge, in Egerton Road, Bexhill and identified two breaches, namely a failure to discharge duties to take general fire precautions and fire-fighting and fire detection, the fire service said.

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ESFRS added that on November 2, 2022 fire safety inspecting officers visited Park View, Egerton Road, Bexhill and found three breaches, namely a failure to carry out duties regarding general fire precautions, risk assessment, and fire-fighting and fire detection.

And on November 3, 2022 fire safety officers visited Beau Lodge, Jameson Road, Bexhill and found three breaches, namely a failure to carry out duties concerning general fire precautions, risk assessment, and fire-fighting and fire detection, ESFRS said.

The defendants were fined £27,500, per offence, for four of the offences, with guilty charges upheld for the remaining offences but no separate penalty awarded. This resulted in a £110,000 fine, a £2,000 victim surcharge and £12,455 for times and costs.

Area manager George O’Reilly, head of fire safety for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “ESFRS are legally required to enforce the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. We take this responsibility seriously and we will not hesitate to take legal action against anyone responsible for placing people at risk of death or injury from fire due to their failures to meet the requirements of this legislation.”

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Craig Williams, group protection legislation and enforcement manager, said: “The fire service considers this one of the most serious cases we have ever prosecuted due to a number of offences found in various premises operated by the company.

“The fine handed down by the court reflects the serious nature of the offences. Owners and those responsible for any premises where the fire service find fire safety contraventions are reminded of the potential consequences, including unlimited fines and potential custodial sentences.”

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