Three-year fire hazard at Brighton hotel

The Argus: Mark McCullough owner of Hotel Nineteen, Broad Street, Brighton has fallen foul of fire regulations and he feels he he is being made an example of Mark McCullough owner of Hotel Nineteen, Broad Street, Brighton has fallen foul of fire regulations and he feels he he is being made an example of

A Brighton hotel had fire hazards for three years – despite the owner being told of the dangers by fire crews.

Hotel Nineteen was taken to Brighton Magistrates’ Court, when owner Mark McCullough pleaded guilty to breaching fire safety legislations.

Bed linen and DVDs and CDs were stored on two floors under the seven-bedroom hotel’s only staircase.

Mark Hobbs, legislation and enforcement officer at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We know that CDs and DVDs burn well and emit a lot of toxic black smoke.

"They have been a contributory factor in a number of tragic house fires across the country.”

There was no fire door separating the lower ground floor and level above and the hotel’s doors did not meet fire safety standards.

Mr Hobbs said: “The conditions weren’t so serious that we considered closing the building but they were serious and we wanted them to be dealt with.”

Problems were first highlighted in September 2009 but not put right despite an enforcement notice being issued and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service decided to prosecute in July 2012.

Mr MuCullough said the work costing more than £5,000 was done in August 2012.

Struggling business

He said his business had been struggling for five years and the banks would not loan him money to cover the cost of the work.

He said: “If the fire service thought I was a real danger to the public they would have closed me down. But they just wanted to make an example of me and see me prosecuted.”

Group manager Richard Fowler, Head of Protection for ESFRS, said: “Despite our officers’ best efforts to inform and educate the responsible person in their duties over an extended period of time, it is disappointing that Hotel Nineteen failed to comply with requests for improvements to be made to the fire safety arrangements, as this eventually led to a formal notice being served.

“It is particularly disappointing that the company then failed to then comply with this formal notice, resulting in protracted legal proceedings that detract officers from attending to other matters.”

In sentencing the Magistrates on Thursday, January 24, said they were serious offences and if it were not for the poor financial circumstances of the business they would be considering substantial fines.

Hotel Nineteen Ltd was given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.

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Comments (16)

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7:46am Sun 27 Jan 13

monkeymoo says...

I Cant believe the idiot who runs this place.
He puts his customers lives at risk.... and then blames the Fire Service for "making an example" of him!
The fact they didn't close him down, is because they were probably trying to HELP him. Allowing him to put the things right (he could move the dvd's etc to a different place at no cost, get quotes for fire doors and arrange work) whilst still staying open for business.

Hopefully this persons stupidity and lack of responsibility are now apparent. People will stay away from this hotel, as god knows what else he cant be bothered to do!!
I Cant believe the idiot who runs this place. He puts his customers lives at risk.... and then blames the Fire Service for "making an example" of him! The fact they didn't close him down, is because they were probably trying to HELP him. Allowing him to put the things right (he could move the dvd's etc to a different place at no cost, get quotes for fire doors and arrange work) whilst still staying open for business. Hopefully this persons stupidity and lack of responsibility are now apparent. People will stay away from this hotel, as god knows what else he cant be bothered to do!! monkeymoo

7:59am Sun 27 Jan 13

Draindoctor says...

well done east sussex fire & rescue great job done to many people have died in places like this over the years and this bloke thinks he is being picked on he should of been shut down a long time ago
well done east sussex fire & rescue great job done to many people have died in places like this over the years and this bloke thinks he is being picked on he should of been shut down a long time ago Draindoctor

9:10am Sun 27 Jan 13

mamatoo says...

I agree with what monkeymoo and Draindoctor have said above. The owner of this hotel is selfish and whining that he's been unfairly treated beggars belief. Cavalierly, he put people's lives at risk for 3 years. Then expected to be let off. There is another issue here though-the Magistrates gave him a conditional discharge. Scandalous! Sadly, from personal experience, magistrates are all too often small business owners themselves and are too lenient on people they see as 'one of their own'.
I agree with what monkeymoo and Draindoctor have said above. The owner of this hotel is selfish and whining that he's been unfairly treated beggars belief. Cavalierly, he put people's lives at risk for 3 years. Then expected to be let off. There is another issue here though-the Magistrates gave him a conditional discharge. Scandalous! Sadly, from personal experience, magistrates are all too often small business owners themselves and are too lenient on people they see as 'one of their own'. mamatoo

10:20am Sun 27 Jan 13

Maxwell's Ghost says...

The fire service should have closed the property down immediately and it only been allowed to te open once the work completed.
If the safety of your guests is not a priority then you are not fit to run a business.
The fire service should have closed the property down immediately and it only been allowed to te open once the work completed. If the safety of your guests is not a priority then you are not fit to run a business. Maxwell's Ghost

11:07am Sun 27 Jan 13

The internets wisest man says...

What about the other 18 hotels?

I hope they didn't burn down.
What about the other 18 hotels? I hope they didn't burn down. The internets wisest man

11:18am Sun 27 Jan 13

Gary Manilow says...

I've lost count of the amount of times DVD's and Linen have spontaneously combusted in my flat.
I've lost count of the amount of times DVD's and Linen have spontaneously combusted in my flat. Gary Manilow

1:06pm Sun 27 Jan 13

Surely not! says...

Gary Manilow wrote:
I've lost count of the amount of times DVD's and Linen have spontaneously combusted in my flat.
What a daft comment. It is better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are stupid than open it and confirm their opinion.
[quote][p][bold]Gary Manilow[/bold] wrote: I've lost count of the amount of times DVD's and Linen have spontaneously combusted in my flat.[/p][/quote]What a daft comment. It is better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are stupid than open it and confirm their opinion. Surely not!

1:55pm Sun 27 Jan 13

clubrob6 says...

Perhaps with all these new fire regulations coming in there should be some sort of finance scheme for small buisnesses as the banks are not interested.My small local pub had to have loads of work done its not the brewery/owner that has to pay for work but the current landlord,and they fire officers were anything but helpfull.The cost of the work was more than £20K for a small pub in this trading climate its enougth to put them under.All around you see closed down pubs i wonder if these new fire regulations have been one of the factors that put them under .
Perhaps with all these new fire regulations coming in there should be some sort of finance scheme for small buisnesses as the banks are not interested.My small local pub had to have loads of work done its not the brewery/owner that has to pay for work but the current landlord,and they fire officers were anything but helpfull.The cost of the work was more than £20K for a small pub in this trading climate its enougth to put them under.All around you see closed down pubs i wonder if these new fire regulations have been one of the factors that put them under . clubrob6

1:56pm Sun 27 Jan 13

mimseycal says...

Three years and he still hadn't put it right? Being made an example of? Not even close!
Three years and he still hadn't put it right? Being made an example of? Not even close! mimseycal

5:55pm Sun 27 Jan 13

Gary Manilow says...

Surely not! wrote:
Gary Manilow wrote:
I've lost count of the amount of times DVD's and Linen have spontaneously combusted in my flat.
What a daft comment. It is better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are stupid than open it and confirm their opinion.
How would people know I'm here if I didn't make a comment?
[quote][p][bold]Surely not![/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Gary Manilow[/bold] wrote: I've lost count of the amount of times DVD's and Linen have spontaneously combusted in my flat.[/p][/quote]What a daft comment. It is better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are stupid than open it and confirm their opinion.[/p][/quote]How would people know I'm here if I didn't make a comment? Gary Manilow

5:57pm Sun 27 Jan 13

John Steed says...

give over, this is the most lame set of excuses I have ever heard.
the cost of emptying cupboards under stairs is NIL, screwing the doors shut to prevent recurrence is 5 PENCE PER SCREW. £1 per door max
standard size fire door, 3 hinges, intumescent strip and a peco door closer costs around £60 at Howdens most reasonable chippies charge around £100-£130 per day and could change a damaged lining and door in 4 hours or less or simply reline the door frame and use a standard door in the case of oversize doors.
THIS MAN IS NOT FIT TO RUN A HOTEL, GUEST HOUSE OR EVEN A DOG HOUSE , Now having got that out the way WHAT ABOUT THE THE REAL IDIOTS IN THE CASE? (1) the fire brigade they are supposed to inspect annually. DOH!!! fail the place simples. then follow up swiftly, if no action close the place (2) enviromental health, obviously they have seen a current electrical safety certificate, a current gas certificate and a current fire certificate and last but not least a fire alarm certificate as these are mandatory requirements along with public liability insurance get real fires kill, all parties concerned have a legal obligation here. It is too late when a death occurs.
any deliberate and continual breech of fire regulations needs punishing hard and fast. and if that puts the owner out of business then thats how it is.
And for those who think this sounds harsh it is my experience that all the statutory authorities will actually try and work with landlords and property owners rather than weald a big stick.
give over, this is the most lame set of excuses I have ever heard. the cost of emptying cupboards under stairs is NIL, screwing the doors shut to prevent recurrence is 5 PENCE PER SCREW. £1 per door max standard size fire door, 3 hinges, intumescent strip and a peco door closer costs around £60 at Howdens most reasonable chippies charge around £100-£130 per day and could change a damaged lining and door in 4 hours or less or simply reline the door frame and use a standard door in the case of oversize doors. THIS MAN IS NOT FIT TO RUN A HOTEL, GUEST HOUSE OR EVEN A DOG HOUSE , Now having got that out the way WHAT ABOUT THE THE REAL IDIOTS IN THE CASE? (1) the fire brigade they are supposed to inspect annually. DOH!!! fail the place simples. then follow up swiftly, if no action close the place (2) enviromental health, obviously they have seen a current electrical safety certificate, a current gas certificate and a current fire certificate and last but not least a fire alarm certificate as these are mandatory requirements along with public liability insurance get real fires kill, all parties concerned have a legal obligation here. It is too late when a death occurs. any deliberate and continual breech of fire regulations needs punishing hard and fast. and if that puts the owner out of business then thats how it is. And for those who think this sounds harsh it is my experience that all the statutory authorities will actually try and work with landlords and property owners rather than weald a big stick. John Steed

6:11pm Sun 27 Jan 13

TheDelicateOne says...

Well done ESFRS. What an idiot the owner is!
Well done ESFRS. What an idiot the owner is! TheDelicateOne

6:44pm Sun 27 Jan 13

BURIRAM says...

He could get a new job as an Alan Carr inpersonator.
He could get a new job as an Alan Carr inpersonator. BURIRAM

7:47am Mon 28 Jan 13

monkeymoo says...

clubrob6 wrote:
Perhaps with all these new fire regulations coming in there should be some sort of finance scheme for small buisnesses as the banks are not interested.My small local pub had to have loads of work done its not the brewery/owner that has to pay for work but the current landlord,and they fire officers were anything but helpfull.The cost of the work was more than £20K for a small pub in this trading climate its enougth to put them under.All around you see closed down pubs i wonder if these new fire regulations have been one of the factors that put them under .
What new fire regulations? These have been the same regulations (and in fact they are building regulations) for the past 10 years!
As for your pub... The law states it is down to THE RESPONSIBLE PERSON to maintain the safety. If the you have taken over the running of a pub, as a manager for a brewery, then it is your responsibility to inform them of the dangers. If you want to open your pub for business, then you must be RESPONSIBLE for your clients safety. If your employers (the brewery) cant / wont pay for the changes...then leave! Let some other Muppet run that pub, whilst you run a decent, safe, one!!
[quote][p][bold]clubrob6[/bold] wrote: Perhaps with all these new fire regulations coming in there should be some sort of finance scheme for small buisnesses as the banks are not interested.My small local pub had to have loads of work done its not the brewery/owner that has to pay for work but the current landlord,and they fire officers were anything but helpfull.The cost of the work was more than £20K for a small pub in this trading climate its enougth to put them under.All around you see closed down pubs i wonder if these new fire regulations have been one of the factors that put them under .[/p][/quote]What new fire regulations? These have been the same regulations (and in fact they are building regulations) for the past 10 years! As for your pub... The law states it is down to THE RESPONSIBLE PERSON to maintain the safety. If the you have taken over the running of a pub, as a manager for a brewery, then it is your responsibility to inform them of the dangers. If you want to open your pub for business, then you must be RESPONSIBLE for your clients safety. If your employers (the brewery) cant / wont pay for the changes...then leave! Let some other Muppet run that pub, whilst you run a decent, safe, one!! monkeymoo

3:04pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Royal_Recruit says...

monkeymoo wrote:
clubrob6 wrote:
Perhaps with all these new fire regulations coming in there should be some sort of finance scheme for small buisnesses as the banks are not interested.My small local pub had to have loads of work done its not the brewery/owner that has to pay for work but the current landlord,and they fire officers were anything but helpfull.The cost of the work was more than £20K for a small pub in this trading climate its enougth to put them under.All around you see closed down pubs i wonder if these new fire regulations have been one of the factors that put them under .
What new fire regulations? These have been the same regulations (and in fact they are building regulations) for the past 10 years!
As for your pub... The law states it is down to THE RESPONSIBLE PERSON to maintain the safety. If the you have taken over the running of a pub, as a manager for a brewery, then it is your responsibility to inform them of the dangers. If you want to open your pub for business, then you must be RESPONSIBLE for your clients safety. If your employers (the brewery) cant / wont pay for the changes...then leave! Let some other Muppet run that pub, whilst you run a decent, safe, one!!
Hardly new fire regulations but to be fair they came out in 2006 and is not prescriptive so to a lot of people it is new. Especially when a lot of business weren't even aware of the fire safety order. I think this case shows exactly how having a non prescriptive law works well for business. He was given a sensible time frame and when he ignored it he was prosecuted. The inspecting officers did a great job. Monkey Moo they aren't building regulations, he was prosecuted under the fire safety order. You are barking up the right tree but the wrong branch with your definitions though.
[quote][p][bold]monkeymoo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]clubrob6[/bold] wrote: Perhaps with all these new fire regulations coming in there should be some sort of finance scheme for small buisnesses as the banks are not interested.My small local pub had to have loads of work done its not the brewery/owner that has to pay for work but the current landlord,and they fire officers were anything but helpfull.The cost of the work was more than £20K for a small pub in this trading climate its enougth to put them under.All around you see closed down pubs i wonder if these new fire regulations have been one of the factors that put them under .[/p][/quote]What new fire regulations? These have been the same regulations (and in fact they are building regulations) for the past 10 years! As for your pub... The law states it is down to THE RESPONSIBLE PERSON to maintain the safety. If the you have taken over the running of a pub, as a manager for a brewery, then it is your responsibility to inform them of the dangers. If you want to open your pub for business, then you must be RESPONSIBLE for your clients safety. If your employers (the brewery) cant / wont pay for the changes...then leave! Let some other Muppet run that pub, whilst you run a decent, safe, one!![/p][/quote]Hardly new fire regulations but to be fair they came out in 2006 and is not prescriptive so to a lot of people it is new. Especially when a lot of business weren't even aware of the fire safety order. I think this case shows exactly how having a non prescriptive law works well for business. He was given a sensible time frame and when he ignored it he was prosecuted. The inspecting officers did a great job. Monkey Moo they aren't building regulations, he was prosecuted under the fire safety order. You are barking up the right tree but the wrong branch with your definitions though. Royal_Recruit

3:24pm Mon 28 Jan 13

Flippin Burghers says...

Mr McCullough's attitude is disgraceful. If he can't take his responsibilities seriously then "move over Rover", let someone else run the business.
Mr McCullough's attitude is disgraceful. If he can't take his responsibilities seriously then "move over Rover", let someone else run the business. Flippin Burghers

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