A PROPERTY firm was fined £20,000 over safety failings where a tenant was found clinging to guttering during a “terrifying” fire.

The resident was unable to access an emergency escape route from the block of flats and was left standing on a windowsill in need of rescue by the fire brigade.

In court it was revealed the flats were managed by Harper Stone Properties Ltd, of Hova Villas, Hove.

The management company admitted the safety breaches following the potentially deadly blaze in 2016.

A case was brought against the company by the London Fire Brigade following an inspection.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Harper Stone Properties admitted the series of fire safety breaches and was fined.

The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Dan Daly, said: “This was a serious fire which could have had far worse consequences.

“Fortunately our crews were quickly on scene and were able to rescue the man who was hanging on for his life in what must have been a terrifying situation for him.

“There was a fire risk assessment carried out for this premises but those responsible for the building’s management had failed to act on its findings.

“There’s no excuse for leaving people’s safety to chance, especially when information is so readily available to those with responsibility for safety in buildings to understand what their duties are and ensure they comply with the law.”

The fire brigade said the blaze broke out in a common stairwell on the ground floor of the four-storey block in Palmers Green, Enfield, London, in August 2016.

It prevented residents escaping the building via the main stairs.

There was an external metal staircase at the back of the building, but not all flats had access to it.

Safety inspectors found that Harper Stone Properties had not judged how this might pose a threat to tenants’ safety, and found there were no emergency lights in the stairwell or common hallways.

Most doors were not fire doors, and lacked self-closing devices to stop the blaze spreading, while glass panels in the doors were not fire resistant, the brigade said.

The brigade said: “When firefighters arrived they found a resident of one of the third floor flats standing on the windowsill of his property and hanging on to the guttering attached to the roof above the window.

“He was rescued by firefighters and another 20 residents were able to leave the building.

“Fortunately, no one was hurt.”