AN OXFORD firm and its boss who put people’s lives at risk by ignoring fire safety rules have been fined.

Le Casse Croute Limited and its manager Anny Ben-Adel were together ordered to pay just under £9,000 after allowing people to sleep on the top floor of 26 Park End Street in the city, despite being told there were major risks to fire safety.

Fire safety inspectors from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service discovered the residents could have died if there was a fire as there was an inadequate fire alarm and no means of escape.

They issued a notice restricting use of the building after an initial joint inspection was carried out by officers from Oxford City Council and the fire and rescue service.

But later inspections found it had been ignored.

Having previously pleaded not guilty, the company and manager were tried in their absence with a total of 10 charges for five different combined offences at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Charges included failures to comply with the prohibition notice, on-going failures to provide an adequate fire alarm and detection system, plus on-going failures to provide a safe means of escape, meaning people occupying the premises were placed at risk of death or serious injury if there were a fire.

Deputy leader of Oxfordshire County Council Rodney Rose said: “This is a stark warning for anyone who thinks they can take risks with other people’s lives.

“Prohibition notices must be taken seriously and acted upon and this case clearly demonstrates the penalties for not doing so.”

Premises risk and protection manager for the fire service Stuart Garner added: “The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which is enforced by the Fire Authority, places a requirement upon the responsible person, usually the building occupier, operator or owner, to firstly undertake a fire risk assessment and secondly act upon the outcomes of their significant findings.

By correctly managing their premises and not committing fire safety offences, business operators can avoid placing the occupants at risk of possible death or serious injury and avoid the need for legal proceedings.”