A hotel manager who breached fire safety laws and put the lives of his guests in danger has been given a community order.
Sultan Chaudhry, 55, was ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work when he appeared at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday 11 July. He was convicted of ten offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 in relation to the White Lodge Hotel, in Great Cheetham Street West, Salford, after he pleaded guilty to the charges at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 4 April.
Following a fire at the hotel, Chaudhry told firefighters there was nobody in the property, only for crews to enter and rescue a guest from one of the rooms.
In sentencing Chaudhry to a 12-month community order and costs of almost £3,000, Recorder Patrick Field told him: “This is deeply shaming for you. These are serious matters amounting to a significant and serious disregard for the safety of others. Your financial circumstances are not such as to allow me to impose an appropriate fine.”
At around 4am on 13 April, 2011, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service crews were called to the hotel after a fire occurred in the lobby. Firefighters searched the building and rescued a guest from the first-floor, despite the manager having told crews that all 13 residents were out of the building at the time.
When fire safety officers attended later that day, they were so concerned about the lack of fire safety measures that a prohibition notice was served preventing anyone staying in the hotel. Officers also discovered that the fire alarms were faulty and had been wired incorrectly, fire extinguishers were empty, escape routes were inadequate, there was no emergency lighting on one escape route and a fire door had been removed.
An entranceway had been knocked into the wall without building regulations consent, meaning that in the event of a fire, heat, smoke and flames would spread into the staircase.
There was no suitable fire risk assessment in place and staff working at the hotel had not received adequate training.