Company fined £15,000 for Penarth pub fire
8:20am Thursday 24th June 2010 in News
A PUB company has been fined £15,000 for breaches of health and safety, following an explosion at the St Fagans Castle in Penarth that left the landlord in a critical condition.
Senior officials from Enterprise Inns were in Cardiff Crown Court on Friday (June 18) to hear judge Michael Farmer QC rule that the company should pay the fine for a failure to carry out a satisfactory survey of the Glebe Street pub.
The West Midlands-based company was also ordered to pay £7,500 costs.
As previously reported in the Penarth Times, former pub landlord Mark Peers was left in a critical condition after he was blown backwards and knocked unconscious by the explosion, when sparks from faulty electrical circuits mixed with gas from a kitchen pipe.
The court case, brought by the Vale of Glamorgan Council, focused on a registered survey that had not been carried out before the incident took place on January 14, 2009.
The two charges, which are beaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), relate to a failure to maintain fixed electrical wiring at the premises, and a failure to ensure all systems were maintained to prevent danger.
Enterprise Inns, which argued it was Mr Peers who should have checked the electrical systems, neverthless admitted the charges and was fined £7,500 for each offence.
Judge Michael Farmer QC said: “It is impossible to say now whether the survey would have prevented the fire.
“However, Enterprise Inns did have a duty to carry out a registered survey, and failed to do so.”
Mr Peers was left unconscious on the kitchen floor for three hours as a result of the explosion, inhaling thick black smoke that caused permanent scarring to his lungs.
The landlord was rescued by firefighters before being transferred to hospital where he was heavily sedated, placed on a ventilator and put into an induced coma for five weeks.
Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Legal and Public Protection, Cllr Hunter Jarvie, said he was ‘very pleased’ with the outcome of the case.
He added: “The fine reflects the serious nature of the offence.”
The blast also caused extensive damage to the pub, which reopened last June after a £200,000 refurbishment.
Following the verdict Mark Savill, defending, apologised to Mr Peers on behalf of Enterprise Inns.
“Senior members of the company are in court today, including the chief executive and the health and safety officer,” he said.
“They would like to offer a sincere apology to Mr Peers for the pain and suffering caused by the fire.”