Curry house boss behind bars after 'lives put at risk'

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 August 2016




A Weston restaurant boss has been jailed for 'putting lives at risk' by 'deliberately ignoring' official warnings from the fire service that safety had to be improved for customers and staff.

Zamshed Alam was the leaseholder and person responsible for the Bengal Raj restaurant in the Boulevard, but on Friday he was sentenced to six months behind bars for eight offences under the Fire Safety Order – including two incidents which were a breach of earlier warning notices.

Breaches included a failure to carry out risk assessments, a failure to fit fire detectors and alarms and a failure to install proper emergency routes and exits so people could escape the building in the event of a fire.

He was also penalised for blocking the single escape route by using it as a storage area, and for allowing people to live on-site.

This final offence was in direct breach of earlier prohibition notices which followed an inspection of the premises by fire service officials 12 months ago.

On Friday, at Bristol Crown Court, Judge Patrick jailed Alam and ordered him to pay £1,500 court costs, too.

Judge Patrick added: “Mr Alam deliberately ignored warnings and advice from the fire service and had a fire occurred it would have been difficult for employees to leave.”

In the wake of the hearing, Avon Fire and Rescue Service station manager Steve Quinton warned Alam’s actions could have seen people killed.

He said: “The sentence handed out by the judge should serve as a warning to any business of how seriously breaches of fire safety law are taken.

“As the responsible person, Mr Alam had a duty of care to his customers, staff and those sleeping in the building. Without adequate fire safety measures he put lives at risk.

“All businesses are required to comply with fire safety legislation and I hope this case demonstrates our commitment to protect the lives of people in our community.

“We always try to work with businesses to improve safety and avoid the need to prosecute, however Mr Alam wilfully ignored two prohibition notices by continuing to allow people to sleep in a property which had completely inadequate means of escape.

“Had there been a fire at the premises I’m in little doubt lives would have been lost.”

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