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Church group fined over fire safety

PUBLISHED: 12:13 30 July 2009 | UPDATED: 17:00 25 August 2010

A CHURCH group has been hit with £30,000 in fines and costs for breaching fire safety. Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries

A CHURCH group has been hit with £30,000 in fines and costs for breaching fire safety.

Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries International in Crabtree Manorway South, Erith, was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court last Friday after admitting three breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

The ministry was given a prohibition notice in June 2007, restricting the number of people on the ground floor to 600.

But on January 5, 2008, an inspection by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) found there to be around 1,200 people in the main hall while a service was in progress.

A fire exit was blocked by a heavy steel bar and another adjoining fire exit was chained and locked.

There was also found to be haphazard storage of 18 LPG and butane bottles and the use of naked flame heaters inside the main hall.

The breaches would have "severely compromised" any emergency evacuation by the congregation should a fast spreading fire have occurred, according to the LFB.

Assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation, Steve Turek, said: "It is regrettable that we had to bring this action against a charitable church organisation but there were significant fire safety failures.

"These offences presented a real risk of injury to the congregation who are our main concern."

A spokesman for the church was unavailable for comment as the Times went to press.

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