Following a routine fire audit, London Fire Brigade Fire Safety Officers found The Baytree Hotel to have breached five sections of the Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) order.
The fire safety offices visited the 16 room hotel in January 2019 as part of a routine audit when the breaches were discovered. These included no smoke detectors, fire safety doors being tied/propped open and many door closures were found to be missing or malfunctioning. The largest breach was when officers found that a first floor emergency exit route was actually being used to store large amounts of rubbish and was blocked its entire length. The exit route also led to an outside gate that was locked, and staff didn't have the ability to unlock it.
All staff members on site were also unable to explain any emergency procedures. This was down to lack of fire risk assessment in place nor was there any evidence of any methodical management of fire safety.
Following the visit, the hotel was issued a enforcement notice and the director Mr Patel was interviewed under caution and the Brigade opted to take the prosecution to court. All defendants in the case were found guilty, and were all given 12 months to pay the fines.
Act Grange Ltd who owned the hotel were fined £20,000, and Falgun Patel (director) was fined £10,000 with six months imprisonment if fine not paid. Additionally, each defendant to pay half of full prosecution costs of £14,420.
Speaking after the hearing, The Fire Brigade's Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Dan Daley said 'A fire in a building with serious fire safety failings such as those our inspectors uncovered could have been lethal and the owner has put staff and guests at a very real risk by failing to maintain standards, There were serious and systemic fire safety failures at The Baytree Hotel and what few steps were taken to satisfy fire safety duties were amateurish and half-hearted'.