It was almost two years ago when Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) started to receive complaints of issues with the fire alarm at Cornhill Hotel. Another complaint was received in August 2018 to which the inspectors then found out that the fire alarm system was turned off whilst they had guests staying at the property.

LFRS then banned the hotel from accepting guests, stating that there should be no one entering the property unless it is to complete the urgent remedial fire safety works.

According to the LFRS website the following were the fire safety breaches which were of such a serious nature that the decision was made to prohibit the use of the hotel:

  • Inadequate fire safety management
  • Inadequate means of escape
  • Inadequate means for giving warning in the event of a fire
  • Inadequate fire separation

The owner of the hotel, Mr. Alan Diamond had different ideas and continued to advertise the hotel to which the LRFS identified three separate occasions where paying guests stayed at the property. A prosecution case file was prepared to begin legal proceedings against the owner for:

  • Failing to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
  • Failing to make and give effect to such arrangements as were appropriate, for the planning, organisation, controlling, monitoring and review of the preventative fire safety measures within the premises.
  • Failing to provide appropriate firefighting equipment, detectors, and alarms suitable for the premises
  • Failing to ensure that escape routes and exits could be used as quickly and as safely as possible, by failing to provide adequate fire doors throughout the premises.
  • Failing to provide adequate and sufficient fire safety training to staff
  • Failing to comply with a prohibition notice

In court Mr. Alan Diamond plead guilty to a number of offences of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 in February 2020. Mr. Diamond has since been handed a nine-month suspended prison sentence.

Mr. Mark Hutton, Fire Protection Group Manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said, “These were extremely serious fire safety failings which, had a fire occurred in the hotel, were highly likely to have led to widespread loss of life, serious injuries and potentially far-reaching damage to the wider community and reputation of Blackpool as a safe place to visit and stay.

“Our team of dedicated fire safety inspectors, and business safety advisors, work tirelessly to support all businesses that set out to comply with fire safety regulations. Sadly in this case the owner of this business chose not only to ignore that support, but also elected to repetitively breach a prohibition notice and allow his building to be used for guest sleeping accommodation even though he knew there were serious problems with fire doors and the fire alarm.

“Members of the public who expect to be able to book safe sleeping accommodation, and other businesses who are competing in the same marketplace and choose to invest in and embrace fire safety, should be in no doubt that when situations like this occur, and the regulations are flouted, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and its inspectors will not hesitate to gather evidence and take those issues to the courts.”