FIRE HAZARD IN BUILDINGS
—(1) The Commissioner may, if satisfied of the existence in or on any premises of any fire hazard, serve —
upon the person by reason of whose act, default or sufferance the fire hazard arose or continues;
if such person is the employee or agent of some other person, upon such other person; or
upon the occupier or owner of the premises in or on which such fire hazard exists,
a notice in writing requiring him to abate the fire hazard within the period specified in the notice, and to do all such things as may be necessary for that purpose, and to take all steps necessary to prevent the recurrence of such fire hazard.
(2) The notice may, if the Commissioner thinks fit, specify any works to be executed for the purposes mentioned in subsection (1).
(3) Where the person by reason of whose act, default or sufferance a fire hazard arose or continues cannot be found and it is clear that the fire hazard neither arose nor continues by reason of any act, default or sufferance on the part of the occupier or owner of the premises in or on which it exists, the Commissioner may abate the hazard and may do what is necessary to prevent a recurrence thereof.
(4) Where a fire hazard abatement notice has been served on any person under subsection (1) and that person —
fails to comply with any of the requirements within the time specified in the notice; or
fails to take such steps as are specified in the notice to prevent the recurrence of the fire hazard,
he shall, whether or not an order under section 16 has been made in respect of him, be guilty of an offence.
—(1) Where a fire hazard abatement notice has been served upon any person under section 13 and if the person on whom the notice has been served fails to comply with any of the requirements of the notice within the time specified therein, the Commissioner may, if he is satisfied that the fire hazard to which the notice relates —
constitutes an immediate or substantial danger of fire in or on the premises; or
is likely, if fire breaks out in or on the premises, to increase the normal risk to life which occurs in the event of a fire,
cause to be carried out in or on the premises such work, including the removal and seizure of any property causing the fire hazard, as appears to him to be necessary to abate the fire hazard and to prevent a recurrence thereof.
(2) The Commissoner may recover the expenses incurred under subsection (1), from the person on whom the notice has been served.
—(1) The Commissioner may, if he is satisfied of the matters specified in section 14 and that the safety of persons in the premises cannot reasonably be ensured by other means —
order the owner or occupier of the premises forthwith to close the premises for such period not exceeding 72 hours as is specified in that order and as the Commissioner considers necessary for the alleviation of the danger in question; or
if an order referred to in paragraph (a) cannot for any reason be given to the owner or occupier of the premises or if such an order, having been given to that owner or occupier, is not forthwith obeyed, close the premises for such period not exceeding 72 hours as the Commissioner considers necessary for the alleviation of the danger in question, using such force as is reasonably necessary for the removal from the premises of persons therein without doing them bodily harm.
(2) The Commissioner giving an order under subsection (1) shall do so —
in writing served on the owner or occupier of the premises in question; or
orally, in which case he shall, as soon as is practicable thereafter, serve on the owner or occupier of the premises in question, confirmation in writing of the contents of that order and of the time and place at which that order was so given, and shall cause a copy of that order or confirmation, as the case requires, to be affixed to that premises in a conspicuous position.
(3) The Commissioner may, if he considers that the danger to which an order given under subsection (1) relates has been alleviated, rescind that order.
(4) Any police officer may, if requested by the Commissioner or an authorised officer to do so, assist the Commissioner or authorised officer in the exercise of any power conferred on the Commissioner by this section.
(5) If the Commissioner or an authorised officer considers that a danger in relation to which he has exercised the power conferred on him by subsection (1) cannot be, or has not been, alleviated within a period of 72 hours referred to in that subsection, he shall, having given such prior notice of his intention to do so to the owner or occupier of the premises in question as is practicable in the circumstances, apply to a Magistrate’s Court for an order directing the owner or occupier to close or keep closed, as the case requires, that premises for such period as the Court considers necessary for the alleviation of that danger.
(6) A Magistrate’s Court may, on an application made to the Court under subsection (5), grant, subject to such conditions as the Court thinks fit to impose, the order sought by the application.
(7) If an application is made to a Magistrate’s Court under subsection (5) while the premises in question is closed under subsection (1), that closure shall continue until the application is finally determined or is withdrawn.
—(1) Where a fire hazard abatement notice is served on any person, and if —
that person fails to comply with any of the requirements of the notice within the time specified therein; or
the fire hazard, although abated since the service of the notice, is, in the opinion of the Commissioner, likely to recur in or on the same premises,
the Commissioner may make a complaint to a Magistrate’s Court and the Court hearing the complaint may grant or refuse to grant a fire hazard order.
(2) A fire hazard order referred to in subsection (1) may be —
an abatement order, that is to say, an order which requires a person to comply with all or any of the requirements of a fire hazard abatement notice in connection with which the order is made, or otherwise to abate the fire hazard or to do what may be necessary to prevent the recurrence of the fire hazard within the period specified in the order;
a prohibition order, that is to say, an order which prohibits the use of any premises for such activities as are specified in the order which activities may materially increase the likelihood of fire or danger to life or property resulting from the outbreak of fire in or on the premises;
a closing order, that is to say, an order authorising the closure of any premises which is likely to be a danger to life or property in the event of fire; or
a combination of such orders.
(3) An abatement order or a prohibition order shall, if the person in respect of whom the order is made so requires or if the Magistrate’s Court making the order considers it desirable, specify the works to be executed by such person for the purpose of abating, or of preventing the recurrence of, the fire hazard to which the order relates.
(4) A Magistrate’s Court, if satisfied that any premises in respect of which a prohibition order or a closing order granted under section 15(6) or this section is in force has been rendered suitable for the use specified in the order, may, on application by the Commissioner or the owner or occupier of the premises, declare that it is so satisfied and revoke the prohibition order or closing order.
(5) Any person who without reasonable excuse contravenes a fire hazard order shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding $500 for every day during which the default continues after conviction.
(6) Without prejudice to subsection (5), where a fire hazard order has not been complied with, the Commissioner may abate the fire hazard and may do whatever may be necessary in the execution of the order, and may recover any expenses reasonably incurred thereby from the person against whom the order was made.
—(1) Where a person appeals to the High Court against a fire hazard order, no liability to a fine shall arise nor, except as mentioned in this section, shall any proceedings be taken or work done under such order until after the determination or abandonment of such appeal.
(2) There shall be no appeal to the High Court against a fire hazard order, unless it is or includes a closing order or requires the execution of structural works.
(3) Where a fire hazard order is made and a person does not comply with it and appeals against it to the High Court and the appeal is dismissed or is abandoned, the appellant shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500 for every day during the non-compliance with the order, unless he satisfies the court before which proceedings are taken for imposing a fine that there was substantial ground for the appeal and that the appeal was not brought merely for the purpose of delay.
(4) Where the appeal is heard by the High Court, the High Court may, on dismissing the appeal, impose the fine as if the High Court were the court before which proceedings were taken for imposition of the fine.
(5) In the event of an appeal against a fire hazard order, no work, except as mentioned in subsection (6), shall be done under section 16(6) under the order until after the determination or abandonment of the appeal.
(6) If the court by which the order was made is of the opinion that the nature of the fire hazard is such as to require immediate abatement, the court may, notwithstanding that the appeal is pending, authorise the Commissioner immediately to abate the hazard.
(7) Notwithstanding subsection (6) —
if the appeal is allowed, the Commissioner shall pay to the person against whom the order was made the amount of any damage sustained by him by reason of the abatement of the hazard by the Commissioner; and
if the appeal is dismissed or abandoned, the Commissioner may recover from such person the expenses incurred by him in abating the hazard in the manner provided for in section 19.
—(1) Any property or materials seized or removed by the Commissioner in abating or doing what is necessary to prevent the recurrence of a fire hazard under this Act or in enforcing any regulations made thereunder, may be confiscated by the Commissioner or may, on application by the owner within 2 weeks of such seizure or removal, be returned to him on such terms and conditions as the Commissioner thinks fit.
(2) Any property or materials confiscated by the Commissioner under subsection (1) may be sold or disposed of in such manner as the Minister may direct.
(3) The money arising from the sale of any property under subsection (2) may be retained by the Commissioner and applied in payment of the expenses incurred by him in connection with the abatement of the fire hazard and the surplus, if any, shall be paid —
to the owner of such property if he applies therefor within 12 months of the date of the sale; or
into the Consolidated Fund if, or to the extent to which, the surplus is not disposed of under paragraph (a).
—(1) If all and any sums payable by or recoverable from the owner in respect of costs and expenses incurred by the Commissioner in or about the execution of any work which are under this Act recoverable from the owner of any premises are not paid by the owner within 14 days after demand, such sums may be reported to a District Court or a Magistrate’s Court and recovered in the same manner as if it were a fine imposed by a District Court or a Magistrate’s Court, as the case may be.
(2) An appeal shall lie to the High Court from any decision of a District Court or a Magistrate’s Court under this section, and the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap. 68) shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to all such appeals.
(3) The person liable to pay any sum under subsection (1) shall be the owner at the time when the work was completed.
(4) Any occupier who, when requested by or on behalf of the Commissioner to state the name of the owner of the premises, refuses or wilfully omits to disclose or wilfully mis-states the same shall, unless he shows cause to the satisfaction of a District Court or a Magistrate’s Court for his refusal or mis-statement, be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000.