A hotel company has had to pay £50,000 in fines and costs after breaching fire safety legislation.

Chescombe Ltd – owner of Tantons Hotel in Bideford – was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 in costs at Exeter Crown Court on 20 September. The company had previously pleaded guilty to five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The prosecution followed a fire at the hotel in May 2011 in which 55 people were evacuated, including four people who were trapped on the roof of the building and had to be rescued.

The company pleaded guilty to five offences: failing to implement the requirements of the fire risk assessment; failing to provide adequate fire detection and alarm equipment; inadequate fire resisting doors; a failure to ensure escape routes were kept clear; and failing to maintain a final exit door and self-closing fire doors.

Station manager Graham Rooke of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said:

“The Judge gave a clear indication that a strong message needed to go out to those that manage and invest in hotels about the importance of fire safety.

“It is my firm belief that the actions of the on-scene emergency services and a member of the hotel staff undoubtedly saved lives that would have been lost.”