A CARE home owner has been hit with a record fine for putting his residents’ lives at risk.
Fire officers found a catalogue of safety breaches – including a Santa’s Grotto blocking an exit route – after a blaze broke out at the Ambassador Care Home, on Lytham Road, South Shore.
And now owner David Moseley’s firm DM Care has been handed a £35,000 fine – the highest the court could impose and the biggest fire safety fine ever handed down in Lancashire.
At Fleetwood Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, chairman of the bench Alec Sugden told Moseley: “Fortunately there was no loss of life but you did not exercise your duty of care to your elderly residents.”
More than 40 residents in the home had to be led to safety after a fire broke out on January 6 last year.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service’s prosecutor Warren Spencer told the court the fire safety breaches were then discovered.
Moseley admitted seven breaches of fire safety regulations, including placing the festive grotto and not having approved fire detection equipment and alarms.
His firm was fined £5,000 for each of the seven breaches, and also ordered to pay £5,375 costs to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.
The fire service today welcomed the record-fine and said they hoped it would serve as a deterrent to others who might flout the law.
Paul Ratcliffe, protection support manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The sentencing of DM Care is the culmination of a fire safety inspection in the aftermath of a fire which disclosed significant breaches of fire safety regulations that the prosecuting magistrate said could so easily have resulted in the loss of life.
“The substantial total of fines with costs of £40,375 is the highest amount we have seen imposed in cases such as this in Lancashire.
“It must surely stand as a powerful deterrent for anyone who might suppose ensuring fire safety in premises they are responsible for is an option and not an obligation in law.”