The owners of a Torquay hotel have been fined over fire safety breaches.
Yesterday, Tuesday 1 December, Marco Pasquale representing the company Pickled Panda Ltd, the owners of The Rainbow International Hotel in Torquay, pleaded guilty to two failures of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, being:
• Failure to implement necessary preventative and protective measures at the hotel.
• Failure to ensure that the hotel’s facilities, equipment and devices in relation to fire safety were subjected to a suitable system of maintenance and kept in working order and in a good state of repair.
Five fire escape staircases were taken out of use due to their poor condition at a Torquay hotel after an inspection by fire safety officers, a court has heard.
Immediate remedial works were needed to three of the staircases to allow the hotel to remain open while two of the fire escape staircases were condemned, including the largest one that served all the floors. As a result, some rooms at the hotel needed to be prohibited from being used.
On sentencing, the magistrates said: “We accept the early guilty plea and the significant work that has now been done at the hotel. However, there was a very serious risk and the company were very slow to get works done and they were only done when the hotel was being told that it would be unusable and shut. Whilst we accept the guilty plea the discount awarded is that of not going to crown court for sentencing. You are ordered to pay £5,000 per offence and ordered to pay full costs of £4,511, and a victim surcharge of £120, a total of £14,631.”
In September 2014, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service was called to the Rainbow International Hotel when the alarms were activated, it turned out to be a false alarm but whilst there concerns were raised about fire safety issues by members of the public. An inspection revealed serious issues with the external fire escapes. All five escape staircases were deemed unsafe to use. Over £100,000 was needed to be spent to bring the hotel to a satisfactory standard for means of escape.
Following the court hearing, Station Manager Glen Wells said: “The Service takes the safety of people that live, work and visit Devon and Somerset very seriously. Where companies fail to implement adequate safety standards that result in people being placed at risk of death or serious injury in the event of a fire occurring they will take all necessary action to ensure that matters are appropriately dealt with. It must be stressed that the Service only takes legal action where matters are very serious and there has been a real and significant risk to people’s safety.”
Other serious fire safety deficiencies were found including a fire exit door that could not be opened and such significant force had to be used to get it open that damage was caused to the door frame in the process.