crime

Ex-head of hotel operating firm faces charges over fatal fire

7 Comments

The 66-year-old former president of the company that operated the Hotel Prince Fukuyama in Hiroshima Prefecture, where a fire killed seven people on May 13, 2012, has been indicted on professional negligence charges resulting in death and injury.

Papers were sent to prosecutors Wednesday on Taeko Kusunoki, TBS reported.

Three men and four women were killed when the fire swept through the four-story hotel. At the time of the fire, there were 13 guests staying in the hotel and one employee on duty.

The fire gutted the 2nd and 3rd floors. It was caused by a lack of safety prevention measures. The hotel had no sprinkler system and been warned about lax anti-fire prevention measures in at least eight areas the year before, fire department officials said.

Kusunoki made a grandiose apology when she got down on her knees at a news conference in Okayama one month after the fire to apologize.

Her lawyer said Wednesday she accepted full responsibility for not complying with requests from fire department officials.

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Based on the confession " not complying with requests from fire department officials.: seems like a clear cut case. Slam dunk as the owner plead defiant of the law and people lost their lives. A heavy price to pay when sentencing comes but people did die by the owners due negligence. Make this owner be the example.

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hnson23Mar. 05, 2015 - 08:06AM JST Based on the confession " not complying with requests from fire department officials.: seems like a clear cut case.

It's more of lack of enforcement by the city. The inspectors could've shut the hotel until the changes were made, but they didn't. It is not surprising that there were many violations that resulted in losses of life. Yet, those in charge of enforcing the building code to protect the community should be in a position to recognize buildings with these deficiencies and act before the next event occurs. Regulations are often enacted following such tragedies.

Hiroshima prefecture need to improve building and fire codes and require improved fire protection features, including automatic fire sprinkler systems and fire detection systems. The level of code enforcement and the qualifications of those involved in has to improve. There should be a relatively simple and effective ways to effectively protect the building and its occupants to allow for a complete building evacuation. It will be costly, but it will also save lives.

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Why has it taken 3 years to indict?

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The phrase "... not complying with requests...," if accurate, may have been part of the problem. It seems to imply that the fire department had no ability to shut the business down or apply other penalties for non-compliance.

"We hate to inconvenience you, but would kindly shell out for some fire extinguishers so that no one gets killed by a fire in your fine establishment? Mind you, this is just a request."

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Unfortunately the former hotel executive was negligent and reckless and should have complied with the request from the fire department officials. The consequences for not taking responsibility is very serious. She will have too learn from her mistake and move forward.

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The hotel had no sprinkler system and been warned about lax anti-fire prevention measures in at least eight areas the year before, fire department officials said.

Interesting ... Makes me wonder if they were warned the year before and every other year for the last 10 years.

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Trial ended this week. Suspended sentence of three years imprisonment.

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