The owner of Abbey College, an independent school in Malvern, has been fined £24,000 at Worcester Crown Court yesterday for serious breaches in fire safety law, and agreed to pay prosecution costs of a further £25,000. Hekmat Kaveh pleaded guilty to breaching the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service brought the prosecution against Mr Kaveh after fire safety inspectors visited Abbey College, Malvern, and raised a number of serious fire safety concerns. These included defective smoke alarms and fire doors which were not working in student sleeping areas.
In summing-up, Judge Cullum told Mr Kaveh that the fire risk assessment was woefully inadequate. Mr Kaveh had both moral and legal responsibility for the staff and children in his care, and that the consequences of fire would have been disastrous.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Richard Lawrence said: “This was an extremely serious case where those living and sleeping inside the premises were being put at risk. Business owners have a clear responsibility under fire safety law to ensure that both the public and their employees are as safe as possible from the risk of fire. This verdict sends out a clear message, in severe cases where responsibilities are ignored we will prosecute as it is never acceptable to put lives at risk.”
Mr Kaveh was convicted of failing to review the fire risk assessment dated June 2007 after there had been a significant change in matters. Teams of firefighters and specially trained fire officers regularly visit businesses across Herefordshire and Worcestershire to check that people’s lives are not being put at risk. It was one such visit that highlighted the issues with Abbey College in 2011.
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