A landlord has received a six month suspended jail sentence, has been ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service and has had to pay over £22,000 for breaking fire safety laws which contributed to the deaths of two people.
Muhammad Ashraf pleaded guilty to four offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Thomas McCann, 60 and Hamza Zulfiqar, 21 died in the fire which occurred over four years ago in London, E17.
The HMO which suffered the fire was owned by Ashraf and contained five bedrooms and a shared kitchen and bathroom. Four fire engines and 20 firefighters were called to tackle the blaze which affected the ground floor, first floor and loft.
The two deceased men were living at the property at the time of the fire.
McCann was in the middle bedroom on the first floor and seemed to be unaware of the fire as it appears he made little or no effort to leave the house. Zulfiqar was in a rear ground floor bedroom and despite apparently making strenuous attempts to escape was unable to get out.
London Fire Brigade safety inspectors visited the house the next day and found a number of serious fire safety breaches including:
- the front door was the only dedicated fire exit and was fitted with a mortice lock which, without use of a key, prevented it form being used in case of an emergency;
- no fire detectors or smoke alarms;
- no firefighting equipment;
- that no proper fire risk assessment was in place for the property;
- none of the doors provided 30 minutes fire resistance in the event of a fire.
Ashraf was ordered to pay £22,684 in prosecution costs.