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Here at Help & Safety at Work, we believe that it’s important to bring our customers up-to-date information about the world of fire safety.

While we’re not ones for scaremongering, it is always incredibly important to raise awareness of the potential dangers that improper practice concerning fire safety can create.

In Luton last year, a fire broke out on Hitchin Road that tragically led to a tenant losing their life. Following that incident, the landlord of the property – 63-year-old Bhagwent Sagoo – pleaded guilty to the charge of breaching a fire safety order.

That plea was heard at Luton Crown Court on Tuesday, and Sagoo was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and given a fine of £20,000.


What went wrong?

Seven people occupied the property at 311 Hitchin Road, and the judge came to the conclusion that the fire safety measures were simply inadequate.

There were no fire doors, and it is unclear whether any working fire alarms were in the property. The alarms were also not interlinked, as is required by law.

Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor Tom Shaw, said

“We are committed to keeping residents safe and inadequate fire safety in a HMO just isn’t acceptable. We expect landlords to put the safety of their tenants first and are pleased to see this sentencing handed down.

“We will continue to work towards ensuring landlords keep their properties in good condition and adhere to safety regulations, or face prosecution. I would strongly encourage tenants or neighbours who suspect a landlord is not adhering to the rules to get in touch with us.

“We’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Mr Grisciukas.”


The lessons

Any landlord or property owner has a number of legal obligations to look after the safety of their tenants. On this occasion, the individual in question fell short of those responsibilities, with disastrous consequences.

We urge anyone who is even vaguely unsure of their legal or practical responsibilities to contact the Help & Safety at Work team. We have years of experience in the world of fire safety, and can carry out fire risk assessments at very short notice all over the Midlands and Home Counties.

It only takes a minute to pick up the phone, and doesn’t cost anything to ask for our advice!