A HIGH street clothing chain has been fined £27,000 after breaching fire regulations at its York store.
Fire inspection officers said Jack Wills, in Stonegate, had failed to comply with an enforcement notice despite repeated attempts to ensure the correct fire conditions were applied at the store.
Following a visit to the outlet in January last year, inspectors found damaged fire doors incapable of holding back flames and said staff were unaware of the dangers of leaving combustible materials on staircases and in the shop’s understairs electrical switch room.
The company issued an unreserved apology to North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service for the unnecessary time and effort officers had to spend dealing with the contraventions and for its failure to comply with safety legislation.
Station manager David Watson said: “Fire safety officers always try to work with businesses and business owners to ensure they are compliant or can achieve compliance with the requirements of the legislation within an acceptable time scale.
“Unfortunately in this case, Jack Wills Limited chose to disregard the items identified within their own fire risk assessments and further advice offered by fire safety officers.
“A company of this standing should have regard for fire safety matters in a more conscientious way. The conviction of Jack Wills Limited shows how seriously the fire authority and the courts view those who put the safety of others at risk in the event of a fire.”
It was said staff working in the store had repeatedly requested authorisation from the Jack Wills head office in London, for maintenance work to be carried out.
Jack Wills Limited pleaded guilty to six contraventions of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, when the case came before magistrates in York on Thursday.
The company was fined £27,000 and also ordered to pay £5,619 prosecution costs.
Staff at the York shop declined to comment and no-one was available at the firm’s head office.
Businesses which require fire safety information should phone the fire safety advice line on 01609 788545 or visit northyorksfire.gov.uk