The company that runs Europa Holiday Park at Woolacombe has been fined a total of £55,000 following a fire in which ‘it was fortunate no one died’.
Woolacombe Beach Holiday Park Ltd pleaded guilty at Exeter Crown Court today (Friday) to six offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
It was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £15,500 costs relating to a number of fire safety failings exposed by a ‘significant’ fire in a sauna at the park on August 3 last year. The director was also handed a suspended 6 month prison sentence.
The court heard how during the course of the fire, staff members suffered burns and a guest had to break out of the building by using his bare feet to break the glass of a locked fire exit with only minutes to get out.
An investigation by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service revealed a number of failings including: Fire exit door locked and unable to be used in an emergency; lack of emergency escape lighting; failure to provide staff training in respect of the use of fire extinguishers and evacuation procedures; lack of a suitable emergency plan.
The investigation also found the director had failed to act on the findings of a fire risk assessment carried in 2009 which had identified several issues.
Business safety manager Paul Bray at the fire service said: “[The director] … understood the need for a fire risk assessment, yet failed to comply with the requirements of the fire safety order by ignoring advice from those he had appointed to assist, putting lives at risk as evidenced by the actions and resulting injuries sustained by a guest and staff as a result of a fire on the premises.”
The fire service said it will always work with and support those businesses that take their fire safety responsibilities seriously but will not tolerate those that fail to carry out their duties.
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