Centre boss prosecuted after fire

07 May 2013

A fire at a Clapham health spa which saw 12 people rescued amid dramatic scenes, has resulted in its former owner and director being handed a four month suspended prison sentence and a court costs bill of £30,000.

London fire crews visited the Common Sense Natural Health Centre on Clapham Common South Side following reports of a fire in July 2010. They rescued 12 people, including two women clinging to a window ledge and two others who had escaped onto an adjacent roof.

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, Winsmill Limited, the owners of the health centre, and director Ron Kemeny, pleaded guilty to seven offences in Woolwich Crown Court.

The court heard that fire safety officers visited the scene of the fire the next day, and identified fire safety contraventions including a failure to fit the building with appropriate fire detectors, no fire doors on the ground floor, and no self-closing doors leading to escape routes. In addition to this, the defendants failed to produce a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment.

Assistant Commissioner for fire safety at the London Fire Brigade, Steve Turek, spoke after the successful prosecution of the potentially serious consequences of the company "ignoring their responsibilities", and he hoped it sent out a clear message that the body would not hesitate to prosecute where necessary. Subsequent investigation sourced the cause of the fire to an electrical fault in a tanning booth.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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