Image copyright Google Image caption The three companies that were fined also agreed to pay costs of £21,000

Three companies have been fined a total of £670,000 after admitting fire safety failings at student accommodation.

Problems at Trinity Hall, Woodhouse Street, Leeds, came to light when the father of a student rang the fire service to report the building.

On Friday at Leeds Crown Court, Judge Robin Mairs described the situation in September 2016 as having "potential for catastrophe".

Twenty seven students had been at risk, the court heard.

The building's owners, Trinity Developments Ltd, admitted four safety breaches:

  • Failing to make a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment
  • Failing to take precautions to make sure the premises were safe from risk of fire
  • Failing to provide an appropriate fire detection and alarm system
  • Failing to provide an adequate number of fire escape routes and exits

Niche Homes Ltd, who were contracted to manage and let the facility, admitted the same four breaches.

APP Construction Ltd, who had been contracted to design and build the hall, admitted one charge of failing to provide an adequate number of fire escape routes and exits.

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West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service inspectors issued a prohibition order and students had to leave for their own safety.

The court heard, some residents would have been 115ft (35m) from the nearest fire escape - almost double the recommended 60ft (18m) distance.

The judge fined APP Construction Ltd £450,000, Trinity Developments Ltd £160,000 and Niche Homes Ltd £60,000.

Following sentencing, Chris Kemp from the fire service, said the conditions on site "were such that some of our senior officers have not seen such blatant disregard for the law and the safety of residents in 28 years".

Acceptable safety measures are now in place at the building, a spokesperson for the fire service added.

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