Zahir Ahmed: Careless Sheffield landlord's building trapped 11 people inside during 'near fatal fire'

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A staircase in Mr Ahmed’s building collapsed causing a firefighter to fall through.

A Sheffield landlord who violated fire safety laws leading to 11 people being trapped in a burning building has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Zahir Ahmed, aged 42, of Bannerdale Road, Sheffield, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court on June 6, 2024, after pleading guilty to six counts of failing to comply with articles under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2002.

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The charges came after 11 people were trapped inside a building on Brook Hill, Broomhall, in Sheffield on February 25, 2022, after a fire broke out at around 3.25am.

Zahir Ahmed has been handed a suspended prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to violations of fire safety laws.Zahir Ahmed has been handed a suspended prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to violations of fire safety laws.
Zahir Ahmed has been handed a suspended prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to violations of fire safety laws. | Getty Images and others

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus located those who had been trapped, staying with them until the blaze was extinguished.

The single staircase in the property collapsed during the fire, causing a firefighter to fall through the stairs.

His Honour Judge Graham Robinson, said: “Mr Ahmed was wilfully not caring about the safety of individuals. There had been a dreadful fire, which resulted in a firefighter falling through the stairs. It could have been catastrophic and was in my view, a near fatal fire.”

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In post-incident investigations, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s business fire safety inspecting officers found there was no fire alarm or emergency lighting in the property. They also found the fire doors were a poor standard and there was no staircase ventilation.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Andy Strelczenie, said: “Landlords and other responsible persons are responsible for preventing fires in the first instance. Should a fire then occur in a building they are responsible for, other protection measures become absolutely critical.

“This fire could have had a catastrophic outcome had it not been for the highly skilled professionalism of our firefighters. Due to the lack of fire safety systems and management within this premises, it was extremely fortuitous in this instance that people did not die.”

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Judge Robinson sentenced Ahmed to six months imprisonment for each of the offences - each suspended for 18 months.

Ahmed will also be required to complete 250 hours of unpaid work for the benefit of the community and was ordered to pay £10,000 of prosecution costs at £1,000 per month.

Mr Strelczenie added: “This sentence is a reminder to all responsible persons that we can and will prosecute people when they fail to adhere to the laws which are there to keep people safe.”