A LANDLORD has been fined £20,000 for serious fire safety breaches after a blaze in a first-floor flat.

Smoke alarms at the property in Portland Road, Worthing, did not go off, meaning sleeping residents were not alerted to the danger.

Landlord Terry Mills admitted breaking fire safety rules when he appeared at Brighton magistrates’ court on Wednesday. A fine of £30,000 was reduced to £20,000 after he pleaded guilty to the offence.

The fire service was awarded full costs of £1,700 and welcomed the outcome of the court case.

Three engines were sent to the blaze on May 14 last year.

Crews quickly brought the fire under control and led two residents to safety from a flat on the second floor after the staircase became smokelogged.

One person was taken to hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation.

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

The court also heard about inadequate fire safety arrangements at the property.

Richard Bradley from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: “Due to the serious nature of this incident, we 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 fire safety systems, such as alarms, are in good working order.”