Shocking photos show inside dangerous Blackpool hotel where guests lives were ‘clearly put at risk’

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Aheed Sultan was fined £7,700 and ordered to pay £7,300 costs after an inspection revealed the fire regulation safety breaches

Several fire regulation safety breaches were discovered during an inspection of Plaza Beach Hotel in BlackpoolSeveral fire regulation safety breaches were discovered during an inspection of Plaza Beach Hotel in Blackpool (Image: Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service)

Firefighters have released pictures showing the extent of safety breaches at a Blackpool hotel which led to the owner being prosecuted.

On Thursday Aheed Sultan was fined £7,700 and ordered to pay £7,300 costs after pleading guilty to fire regulation safety breaches.

Preston Crown Court heard the now 77-year-old had put guests’ lives at risk by allowing the Plaza Beach Hotel to go to ‘rack and ruin’ in 2017.

Sultan, who now lives with his son in Loughton, Essex, did not attend the hearing because of his worsening health and since the offences has been diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

During an inspection of the Albert Road hotel in September 2017 firefighters found fire doors had been wedged open, other self-closing doors didn’t work and one fire door could not be opened.

Fire doors were found wedged open with combustible material stacked in the basement
Fire doors were found wedged open with combustible material stacked in the basement (Image: Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service)

Inspectors also found the basement area of the hotel was being used to store bed bases, mattresses and other combustible materials.

The staircase leading from the flat to the basement was ‘stacked full’ of combustible materials and Blue Tac had been wedged into a fire alarm panel to stop the alarm from sounding.

Some of the emergency lighting in the hotel, formerly called the Silver Beach Hotel, did not have power and locks on some doors meant they could not be easily and quickly opened if a fire started.

After the sentencing Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service released some of the images they had taken during the inspection in 2017.

Fire officials say lives were put at risk at the Plaza Beach Hotel in Blackpool
Fire officials say lives were put at risk at the Plaza Beach Hotel in Blackpool (Image: Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service)

Head of Prevention and Protection at LFRS, Area Manager Mark Hutton, said: “The importance of fire safety in buildings which provide sleeping accommodation should never be underestimated.

“Unless the risks are taken seriously, and managed appropriately, fire is an ever-present danger. In this case the former owner left too much to chance and failed in his legal duties.

“If a fire had occurred residents and staff would have been at risk of serious injury or death.

“Most hoteliers and business owners recognise fire safety as a legitimate business expense and see the importance of protecting the lives of the people who visit, work and sleep in their premises. We will work hard to support such businesses to comply.

“In cases like this however, where lives have clearly been put at risk, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service Inspectors will take evidence to the courts.”

Mattresses were stored in front of escape routes at Plaza Beach Hotel in Blackpool
Mattresses were stored in front of escape routes at Plaza Beach Hotel in Blackpool (Image: Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service)

He added: “This sentencing comes at a time when hoteliers are looking forward to re-opening after a long period of lock-down and will be juggling the challenges of re-opening and managing the ongoing Covid risk.

“I fully recognise the challenges this brings but fire remains an ongoing risk and must remain a business priority.

“Any business owner who has any concerns about complying with the Fire Safety Order can contact our business fire safety advisors or visit our website for more information.”