The Leicester Mercury has reported that Leicester Landlord, Haresh Rambhai Patel, has pleaded guilty to seven offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, at Leicester Crown Court.

According to the court, his ‘complete failure over every aspect of fire safety’ put the lives of the nine tenants renting his Highfields property in danger.

Firefighters were called to the property in Evington Street on May 8 last year, where a fire, possibly caused by an electrical fault had broken out. Fire and smoke was coming from the first and second floor, and firefighters had to enter a smoke filled lobby with zero visibility using breathing apparatus and thermal imaging equipment to carry out their rescue. One trapped occupant was rescued from the first floor, and a couple living on the ground floor had to be carried to safety due to broken glass. The rest of the occupants had managed to escape the fire by climbing out of the rear of the building, unable to get through the front.

Naomi Gilchrist, prosecuting on behalf of Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, listed a catalogue of fire safety breaches at the property. Amongst the many breaches, the building containing a total of 11 bedsits, had no emergency lighting or working smoke alarms. Fire doors were missing, left open or jammed shut, emergency exits were blocked, and the fire extinguisher in the hall hadn’t been inspected for 25 years.

Naomi Gilchrist added that “There was a complete failure of every aspect of fire safety, putting people at risk of serious injury or death.”

Sentencing has been adjourned and Patel has been released on bail.