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Landlord fined £20,000 after house fire
A landlord has been fined £20,000 plus costs after two people became trapped upstairs during a fire in Worthing last year, reports the Worthing Herald.
Former landlord Terry Millis admitted that he put the lives of five residents at risk, weeks after he was told their fire alarm did not work.
The judge said Millis had a 'high level' of culpability and fined him £20,000 for 'failures' in the lead up to the fire.
The blaze had trapped two people on the second floor of the property due to the stairs being smoke logged.
Fortunately, firefighters managed to rescue the people, who both escaped without major injury, though one was taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
The court heard that is subsequently emerged Mr Millis did not have a fire risk assessment and was aware that the fire alarm was not in working order.
Several of the smoke detectors also had the manufacturer's dust covers still on them, rendering them non-responsive to smoke.
Mr Millis had contacted a company to repair the fire alarm two months before the fire, but the work had not been done, the court heard.
Chris Chatterton, defending, said Millis checked the alarms every month in the daytime. He said: "That would explain why there were no alarm tests heard by residents.
"The fire itself is through no fault of Mr Millis."
The court heard the blaze was caused by a cooking surface being left unattended.
Sentencing him, district judge Tessa Szagun said he had a 'high level' of culpability.
She said: "The purpose of sentencing in this type of case is to protect the safety of individuals living in such premises by ensuring that there is no financial gain by any person cutting corners. "[There is] also a necessity to deter others from doing so."