Landlord prosecuted for risking safety of residents

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has welcomed the outcome of a court case in which a Worthing landlord was prosecuted for serious fire safety breaches.

Landlord, Mr Terry Millis, was fined £20,000 after a kitchen fire that occurred in May last year at 104 Portland Road, Worthing.

On 8 August 2018 at Brighton Magistrates Court, Mills, who had pleaded guilty to Article 11 Fire Safety Arrangements and Article 17 Maintenance, was fined the amount which was reduced from £30,000 due to his guilty plea and mitigating health issues. The fire service was awarded full costs of £1,700.

Three fire engines were mobilised to a fire in a first floor flat in 104 Portland Road Worthing on 14 May 2017. Fire crews quickly brought the fire under control. Two residents were led to safety from a second floor flat, after the staircase became smoke logged.

One person was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation.

During the incident fire crews identified poor fire safety standards and that the fire alarm had failed to activate, preventing residents who were asleep in bed from escaping the building.

The court heard that as well as the failings identified with the maintenance of the fire alarm system, there were inadequate fire safety arrangements for the residents.

Richard Bradley, Business Fire Safety and Fire Investigation Officer, said: “Due to the serious nature of this incident, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service took legal action against the landlord. This fire could have resulted in a number of fatalities.

“Landlords have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that fire safety systems, such as fire alarms, are in good working order. This fine sends out a clear message that poor fire safety management will not be tolerated, and that enforcement action will be taken by the fire service.”

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service works closely with the local businesses to assist them in complying with fire safety regulations.

Fire safety advice for businesses and information on legislation is available on our Business Fire Safety page.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is at the heart of West Sussex County Council’s Communities and Public Protection Directorate, working to support communities to become safer, stronger and more resilient through a combination of prevention, protection and response activities.


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