Hotel where child fell from window was also fire risk!

Protestors outside a Glasgow detention centre demand an end to hotel detention for refugees

THE CUT PRICE hotel where Afghan refugee, five-year-old Mohammed Munib Majeedi, plunged to his death from a ninth-floor window had ‘multiple fire risks’ the fire service confirmed yesterday.

South Yorkshire Fire Service confirmed that, in November last year, it had ordered the hotel to carry out improvement works to remedy multiple fire risks and it is still being subject to a ‘fire service enforcement notice for safety failings’.

The fire service also confirmed the order is still in place because the changes to make the hotel fire safe had not been completed.

They included unsafe cladding, an unsuitable fire safety risk assessment, inadequate evacuation procedures, structural and passive fire precautions not suitably maintained and a fire alarm system that was not up to scratch.

Despite this, as many as 16 Afghan families and 85 children were placed in the hotel under the scheme for government and agency workers.

Mohammed Munib Majeedi and his family were quarantining at the cut-price Oyo Metropolitan hotel in Sheffield last week after arriving from Afghanistan.

He and many others had been placed in the hotel under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (Arap) refugee scheme. All have since been rehoused in other hotels or alternative accommodation.

The Home Office said corrective action or mitigations had been put in place to answer the concerns raised in the enforcement notice and the notice did not prevent the hotel being used provided mitigating action had been taken.

‘Hotels are selected using commercial arrangements used across government. All hotels booked in this way must meet relevant health and safety legislation and provide their latest health and safety risk assessment,’ said a spokesman.

Local MPs have, however, demanded an independent investigation into what was known by the Home Office about the suitability and safety of the hotel before it was commissioned.

Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central, said: ‘The emerging information on this tragic case confirms the need for the urgent independent review of the procedures adopted by the Home Office in commissioning this hotel and other refugee accommodation that we have requested as local MPs.’

Concerns had also previously been raised by at least one visitor to the hotel that the windows were ‘dangerous’ for children because they could be opened outwards from the bottom up and the sills were only 3ft above the floor.

It is estimated more than 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers are currently being housed in hotels by the Home Office.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said the Refugee Council had published a report in April looking at the situation in hotels.

‘We found some really disturbing stories, for example people with mobility problems being put on higher floors in hotels where there are no lifts. It has certainly been very challenging in hotels.’