view of the coast in Looe, Cornwall

The owner of a bed and breakfast in Looe, Cornwall was fined almost £10,000 for Fire Safety Order 2005 breaches, putting visitors and guests at risk.

David Riella, joint owner of the Deganwy Hotel pleaded  guilty to three offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and has been ordered to pay £8,567 in fines and costs.

He was also ordered to pay £4,537 in costs and a victim surcharge of £190 when he appeared before Bodmin Magistrates’ Court on April 26. The failures in the fire safety standards were identified by officers of Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service following a fire at the property in June 2021.

As the responsible person for Deganwy Hotel, Riella failed to make a suitable fire risk assessment of the premises, thus having placed one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire. Riella also failed to ensure that the premises were equipped with fire detectors and alarms of the required standard for the size and nature of the premises.

The inspection by the officers revealed that the fire detection and warning system fell short of the standard expected in a premises providing sleeping accommodation, that the escape routes serving the sleeping accommodation were not adequately protected, there was a lack of emergency escape lighting, and that a fire risk assessment had not been carried out.

The subsequent investigation by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service revealed that Mr Riella had failed to review the fire safety provisions at the premises, and was served with an enforcement notice. Mr Riella was fined £3,840, which was reduced from £5,760 to account for his early guilty plea.

Chief Fire Officer Kathryn Billing said “Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service’s vision is working together to make people safer, and wherever possible we want to work with local business owners to ensure they have the right fire safety advice and understand their responsibilities in keeping their guests and visitors safe. However, when premises do not comply and we believe the public are at risk, we will take action to enforce fire safety regulations.”

The council’s portfolio holder for environment and public protection, Councillor Martyn Alvey, said: “The safety of residents and visitors to Cornwall is crucial. This is a reminder to all owners of sleeping accommodation premises that, regardless of the number of bedrooms and irrespective of the letting arrangements which may include less formal online arrangements such as Airbnb, they are required to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This means they must have a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment and ensure that all fire safety provisions are adequate and regularly maintained.”