£20,000 fine for newsagent over fire safety breaches

The owners of a newsagent shop in Southampton have been handed a £20,000 fine after they admitted numerous breaches of fire safety law.

McColl’s store in Sholing, owned by Martin McColl’s Ltd., was visited by officers from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service after a small fire broke out at the premises. Whilst inspecting the shop, officers uncovered a number of issues, most of which are normally covered as part of fire safety training courses.

The main problems at the newsagents were as follows:

  • The fire risk assessment had not been reviewed and updated
  • The manager of the shop had not had sufficient fire safety awareness training
  • A padlock was found on the rear fire exit door, preventing escape in an emergency
  • Fire safety equipment had not been maintained

The business was fined £3,500 per breach, plus a £15 victim surcharge and the legal costs of the fire service, which amounted to £3,871. In total, Martin McColl’s Ltd had to pay £21,322.

Commenting on the case was Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s assistant chief officer Neil Odin, who said:

“We would like this case to act as a timely reminder to business owners and landlords throughout Hampshire that the Fire Safety Order is in place. The safety of the public is our primary concern. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service will continue to utilise all the powers available to us in enforcing fire safety legislation.”