Harrogate nightclub heavily fined after woman catches fire

A Harrogate nightclub has been heavily fined after a woman's hair caught fire on the premises, suffering burns to her face and neck.

Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 4:08 pm
The Moko Lounge on King's Road has been heavily fined after the shocking incident, which North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service were made aware of on March 2.

A press release issued this morning by North Yorkshire Rescue Fire and Rescue Service states that The Moko Lounge on King's Road has been fined nearly £22,000 after the shocking incident, which the service were made aware of on March 2, 2018.

The woman said it happened on the night of February 24 last year. A fire safety inspector visited the premises and started an investigation into the allegations. It was discovered that on February 24, the woman's hair had been ignited by a lit candle placed on a table in the nightclub.

The woman was on fire for 12 seconds, and suffered burns to her face, neck and hair. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said their investigations found that the use of candles had "not been risk assessed," and that "no defined control measures to protect persons from a naked flame were in place."

Prosecution was taken against Moko Harrogate Limited, who were the company that had control of the fire safety arrangements at the nightclub.

A North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue spokesperson said: "The magistrate said that he was surprised that the company had not removed the candles from the nightclub, and that further regulatory restrictions were required by North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to remove them from use.

"The magistrate also commented that the company had not followed its own policy and reviewed the fire safety risk assessment every 12 months."

Fines totalling £21,962, inclusive of costs, were awarded for the fire safety breach on the night.

Group manager Dave Winspear of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We brought this prosecution against Moko Lounge Ltd because we were of the view that this unfortunate incident was both foreseeable and avoidable. Despite there being a risk assessment in place it had not referenced the presence of candles being used in the nightclub and therefore no control measures to protect the public and staff were put in place.

"We would like to remind business owners that it is important that they are aware of the legislative requirements they need to comply with including have a suitable and sufficient risk assessment."

In a statement, the directors of Harewood Group, which The Moko Lounge is part of, said: "The directors of Harewood Group have always taken our responsibilities very seriously which is evidenced by our exemplary 30 years track record across many venues nationally and having hosted more than 1 million customers at Moko alone over it's 15 years of trading.

"We acknowledge the judgement of the court today and appreciate the magistrates acknowledgement of our track record and the fact that this infringement was very limited in extent and a one off issue.

"Although the lady injured suffered very minor burns from a tea light contained in a jam jar, one 0.5cm x 0.5cm and one 1.5cm x 0.5cm that only required cream applying, we are very disturbed at, and regret, any injury within our premises and we acted immediately to ensure this event could never recur.

"We will continue to put our customers welfare at the centre of our focus in providing entertainment for the people of Harrogate."