Wales

Barry fire safety expert's 'valueless' charity shop checks

Brian Fakir at Cardiff Crown Court

A fire safety consultant who gave "valueless" risk assessments has been given a six month suspended sentence and 180 hours of community service.

Brian Fakir, 59, appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday on behalf of MB Fire Consultants in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan.

He pleaded guilty to 13 charges in relation to checks he carried out at four St David's shops in south Wales.

Fakir claimed the assessments were "drafts".

Fakir pleaded guilty to 13 charges in relation to four premises with the most serious issues in Blackwood, Bargoed, Aberdare and Caldicot.

The court heard people were put at serious risk of death because of poor escape routes, a lack of fire alarms and insufficient precautions to reduce fire and the spread of fire.

At the Aberdare shop, there was insufficient emergency lighting, doors with inadequate fire prevention mechanisms and no mention of a neighbouring business which relied on a connecting door as its means of escape.

Image copyright South Wales Fire and Rescue
Image caption The basement at the Blackwood St David's Hospice shop, which Fakir failed to provide a fire assessment of

At the Blackwood shop, Fakir "entirely missed" the fact the building had a basement.

He claimed his assessments were drafts but Judge Tom Crowther QC said there was no evidence of this.

"Your assessments failed to address the most obvious risks and it seems to me they were valueless," he said.

"There can be little more frightening than a fire in a building.

"Those of us who work in the crown court have seen its consequences."

'Jaw-dropping'

He ordered Fakir to complete 180 hours of unpaid work in the community, and handed down a six month sentence, suspended for two years.

Judge Crowther added that the fact that someone could set themselves up to provide advice about fire prevention with no formal qualifications was "jaw-dropping".

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said it hoped the conviction would help bring in new rules to regulate the industry.

It had investigated after concerns were raised about Fakir's work, following fires at the St David's Hospice charity shop in Pontypool in August 2014 and Newbridge a few months later.

However, no prosecutions were brought over either incident.

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