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‘People could have died inside deathtrap hotel’

Fire safety breaches were found at the New Kimberley Hotel, on New South Promenade.

Fire safety breaches were found at the New Kimberley Hotel, on New South Promenade.

Someone could have died if a “deathtrap” hotel in Blackpool had not been shut down after being raided by police and council officers, fire chiefs claimed today.

Peter Metcalf has been found guilty of 15 fire safety breaches after people were found living in squalor at the New Kimberley Hotel, on New South Promenade, last year.

Fire safety officers found a catalogue of hazards inside the 90-bed hotel including an illegal electricity supply, disconnected smoke alarms and chained up fire exits.

Metcalf, 51, formerly of Wyredale Road, St Annes, and more recently the Halfway House Hotel, Squires Gate, appeared at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday after charges were brought by Lancashire Fire and Rescue.

Mark Cairns, fire safety enforcement team leader for Lancashire Fire and Rescue, said: “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 no option but to take this action.”

The Gazette revealed how the hotel was raided in March last year after a utility company went to switch off the water and reported 
people may be living inside the building. Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council cabinet member for housing, said: “The New Kimberley Hotel has been a concern to our public protection team for a number of years.

“It’s been one of the most problematic properties we’ve had to deal with and, as a result, we are extremely pleased with the outcome of the case.

“Fire safety is no laughing matter and property owners who fail to make their premises secure are putting lives at risk.

“We have worked together with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service throughout and together we will continue to tackle landlords who fail in their obligations.”

Metcalf is due back in court to be sentenced on June 11.

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