Please Note: This Article is 6 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

A landlord of a Bolton property where Stephen Billington 49 died has been prosecuted for breaching fire safety laws.

The property at Bradford Avenue, Great Lever, Bolton was the scene of a serious fire in March last year which killed father of two 49 years old Steven Billington.

An investigation found that the tragedy occurred in a house fire after a previous tenant turned off the alarm system so they could smoke, Bolton Magistrates court was told.

Landlord Andrew Tunstall was fined £1,500 at the court after 59 years old Tunstall pleaded guilty to nine offences under the Housing Act 2004, including that fire alarms were not kept in good working order. The blaze is thought to have been caused by a faulty gas fire.

Following an investigation by Bolton Council officers and the Greater Manchester Fire Service, it was established that Tunstall had failed to carry out his management duties. A back-up system powered by batteries was in place which could keep the system running for a number of hours, but the batteries were not replaced.

In addition to the fire detection system failings, Tunstall admitted to not servicing a fire extinguisher and not having a fire blanket in the flat.

Prosecuting on behalf of Bolton Council, Catherine Waudby told the court:

“During the inspection a number of contraventions of the regulations were noted in both the common parts and the flats.

“Whilst it is appreciated that some of these will have been caused by tenants or visitors, the number of issues identified at the property, particularly those relating to fire safety, clearly suggests that the level of management was not to a satisfactory standard and had resulted in a number of contraventions.”

Tunstall has owned and operated the HMO house which contains nine self-contained flats since 1998. It was converted from two adjoining properties in 1977.

Tunstall of Riefield, Smithills, also admitted not having a gas inspection done in the property since December, 2014, not having his contact details displayed in a prominent place in the house and not keeping the stairs of the house in good working order.

Bolton magistrates fined Tunstall £100 for three offences, and £200 each in relation to the lack of fire fighting equipment, fire alarms, smoke detectors, absence of fire blanket and no testing of electrical installations. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,424.

Please Note: This Article is 6 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


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