A Lancashire woman has been jailed and ordered to pay £10,414 after she put the lives of her tenants at risk.

Landlord, Angela Chang, pleaded guilty to six breaches of a fire safety order at properties owned by Chinese restaurant Great Fortune House, after fire safety officers found there was no fire detection in place, and the properties were cluttered with rubbish and old mattresses, which prevented her tenants from exiting the building safely. 

On March 29, 2021, fire safety officers from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service inspected the properties attached to the Chinese restaurant, in Victoria Rd West and St George's Lane, Thornton-Cleveleys.

The fire safety officers found the flats above were occupied at the time by several employees of the Great Fortune House, a family of three, and a builder undertaking work on the premises. 

Officers issued a prohibition notice on the flats above the premises for failing to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which put the lives and safety of residents and employees at risk after they

The six offences to which Chang pleaded guilty to were:

  • Failure to take such general fire safety precautions so as to ensure the safety of tenants
  • Failure to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
  • Failure to ensure that the premises were equipped with appropriate fire detectors and alarms
  • Failure to ensure that people could evacuate the premises as quickly and safely as possible.
  • Failure to properly maintain an appropriate fire evacuation procedure for the premises
  • Failure to safeguard the safety of relevant persons by ensuring that any facilities, equipment and devices provided

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) said the breaches posed a serious threat to the life and safety of the tenants and anyone else who may have been visiting the property.

As a result, Chang was prosecuted by LFRS for her failure to comply with the fire safety order and the prohibition notice and pleaded guilty to the above charges on December 27.

On Tuesday (March 19), at Preston Crown Court, Chang was sentenced to three months in prison for failure to comply with the above articles of the fire safety order and she was also ordered to pay £10,414 in costs to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

Ian Armistead, protection department group manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Angela Chang is the responsible person for these premises, and as such has a legal duty to ensure that people who use her premises are provided with a safe environment.

"We hope that this prosecution will ensure that the standard of her properties is kept within the requirements of the law.

“In our constant drive to make Lancashire safer, our fire safety enforcement teams are always actively seeking out other dangerous premises.

"We would hope that the outcome of this particular case where a custodial sentence has been issued, sends a clear message that fire safety must always be a priority.

"In this instance, the consequences of the inadequate fire safety measures and inadequate management could have led to serious injury or loss of life and circumstances left us with no other option but to take this action.

“Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service will always work with those willing to address fire safety issues and businesses can be assured that we will continue to support them in complying with the fire safety order.

“We would urge landlords and responsible persons who need to take action to comply with fire safety regulations to visit the business safety section of our website, which contains advice and guidance on how to comply with your legal duties.”