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Suspended sentence for car wash owner who flouted fire safety laws

A CAR wash owner has been given a suspended prison sentence after he admitted putting lives at risk.

The judge hearing the case praised fire protection officers from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) who, he said, prevented a tragedy at the Salford business.

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Heby Mamand Mohammadzadeh, the former owner of H20 car wash in Worsley Road, Little Hulton, pleaded guilty to six offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005.

The 33-year-old was ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work and pay £2,000 costs and an £80 victim surcharge when he appeared at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday, October 14, 2014.

Mohammadzadeh pleaded guilty to the charges at an earlier hearing at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on July 9, 2014.

Fire protection officers from GMFRS carried out an inspection on the business on November 22, 2012, after concerns raised by Greater Manchester Police.

They discovered that the former pub was being used as accommodation and storage as well as a hand car wash.

The ground floor was being used for storage and as a waiting area for customers while the first floor had four bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom which were being occupied by workers from the car wash.

There was no fire alarm system and there were holes in ceilings of rooms piled high with furniture and cardboard boxes as well as an exposed electricity meter and intake with loose and hanging wires.

A fire would have rapidly developed and toxic smoke would have spread through the holes to the first floor.

The only stairs were obstructed with window frames which would have given off toxic smoke and there was no emergency lighting.

There were no fire doors so a fire on the ground floor would have not only spread through the holes in the ceiling but also onto the stairs – potentially trapping people upstairs.

A door on the first floor led out onto a flat roof but this had unprotected skylights, no lighting and was littered with obstructions.

There was no way down from the roof so anyone escaping this way would have had to jump to safety.

Mohammadzadeh, of Cloister Close, Leicestershire, was the sole director of the company running the car wash and had leased the premises in his own name.

He admitted in an interview that there was no fire alarm and he had not done a risk assessment but stated he had bought two fire extinguishers.

Warren Spencer, prosecuting, told the court the condition of the property was so poor that “smoke and fire would spread quickly through holes in the ceiling onto the first floor and people sleeping could inhale toxic smoke and be overcome without waking”.

“Whichever way occupants attempted to escape in a fire was fraught with danger”, he said.

Hunter Grey, defending, said Monhammadzadeh had accepted responsibility and was culpable but that his failure to comply was not a sinister disregard but ignorance.

Mr Recorder Biddle handed Monhammadzadeh a suspended sentence of three months for each offence to run concurrently and said: “These are serious matters that pass the custody threshold.

“Had there been a fire there was an extremely high likelihood that one or more people would have suffered extremely serious injury or been killed. It is for this reason the regulations exist.

“Fortunately the fire service got to the premises before this occurred and the diligent work of the fire service prevented a tragedy.”

ENDS

Charges in Full 1. That Heby Mamand Mohammadzadeh, on or before the 22nd November 2012, having control of 10a Manchester Road West, Little Hulton, Worsley, M30 0RZ, failed to safeguard the safety of relevant persons in case of fire by failing to failing to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment pursuant to Article 9 (1) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which failure placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire, contrary to Article 32(1)(a) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 2. That Heby Mamand Mohammadzadeh, on or before the 22nd November 2012, having control of 10a Manchester Road West, Little Hulton, Worsley, M30 0RZ, failed to safeguard the safety of relevant persons in case of fire by failing to take such general fire precautions as were reasonably required to ensure the premises were safe pursuant to Article 8(1)(b) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 specifically by failing to take measures to prevent the spread of fire in the premises, which failure placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire, contrary to Article 32(1)(a) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 3. That Heby Mamand Mohammadzadeh, on or before the 22nd November 2012, having control of 10a Manchester Road West, Little Hulton, Worsley, M30 0RZ, failed to safeguard the safety of relevant persons in case of fire by failing to provide an adequate fire warning system pursuant to Article 13 (1) (a) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which failure placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire, contrary to Article 32(1)(a) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 4. That Heby Mamand Mohammadzadeh, on or before the 22nd November 2012, having control of 10a Manchester Road West, Little Hulton, Worsley, M30 0RZ, failed to safeguard the safety of relevant persons in case of fire by failing to ensure that escape routes were kept clear at all times, pursuant to Article 14 (1) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which failure placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire, contrary to Article 32(1)(a) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 5. That Heby Mamand Mohammadzadeh, on or before the 22nd November 2012, having control of 10a Manchester Road West, Little Hulton, Worsley, M30 0RZ, failed to safeguard the safety of relevant persons in case of fire by failing to provide a protected escape route to ensure occupants could evacuate as quickly and safely as possible, pursuant to Article 14(2) (b) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which failure placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire, contrary to Article 32(1)(a) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. 6. That Heby Mamand Mohammadzadeh, on or before the 22nd November 2012, having control of 10a Manchester Road West, Little Hulton, Worsley, M30 0RZ, failed to safeguard the safety of relevant persons in case of fire by failing to failing to provide emergency routes and exits with emergency lighting of adequate intensity in case of failure of normal lighting pursuant to Article 14(2)(h) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which failure placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire, contrary to Article 32(1)(a) of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Last update: 23/03/2016 08:19:29
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