Anger over carbon monoxide escape from restaurant

Fire engines attending the incident in West Byfleet
Two residents went to hospital, according to the council [Michael Reeves]

A council said residents could have died after a restaurant was fined for carbon monoxide escaping into flats above it.

One of the residents who went to hospital after the fire at Okra Lounge, in Station Approach, West Byfleet, also claimed he “could have been killed”.

Woking Borough Council said if it wasn't for carbon monoxide detectors in the resident's homes, “the case could have been much more serious, potentially resulting in fatalities”.

Okra Lounge Ltd, which runs the restaurant, has been approached for comment.

The restaurant was fined £12,837.50, including a victim surcharge and the council’s full court costs at Guildford Magistrates’ Court last month.

Firefighters told residents living above the restaurant to open their windows and leave their homes after the fire on 14 July 2023, according to one person living there.

Michael Reeves, 46, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he "started to feel rough" and went to the hospital the following day.

He added: “We were living above them and they could have killed us.”

'Take responsibility'

The council said two residents who were taken to hospital had elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their blood.

In a statement, the council said the restaurant had failed to clear the coals from a charcoal grill and turned off the kitchen’s ventilation system before closing.

Liam Lyons, the council’s portfolio holder for planning and regulation, said business owners needed to take responsibility for their actions and operations, and ensure the "safety of both their employees and the wider public”.

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