The following press release was issued by the Office of the Fire Marshal. The implications of these charges should be of great importance to anyone owning rental properties.
TORONTO (September 8, 2008) - The property owner of a house in Hamilton where five people, including three young children, died in a fire on March 1 has been charged with two violations under the Ontario Fire Code.
Office of the Fire Marshal investigators confirmed that no working smoke alarms were found in the home during their investigation. As a result of this finding, Hamilton Fire & Emergency Services has charged the property owner with one count of failure to install working smoke alarms and a further count of failure to maintain existing smoke alarms in operating condition.
"Compliance with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements is the responsibility of the property owner," said Pat Burke, Fire Marshal of Ontario. “It is irresponsible and negligent of property owners to not provide working smoke alarms in their homes or rental units to ensure the safety of all the occupants.
"There is no smoke alarm warning in approximately 50 per cent of all fire fatalities in
"Too many people, including children, older adults and others at high risk, have died in fires across the province this year," said Burke. “The fire service is stepping up their enforcement efforts to ensure fire safety in the province."
It is the law to have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. For added protection, consider installing smoke alarms inside all bedrooms. In rental accommodations, tenants who do not have the required number of smoke alarms to meet Fire Code requirements should contact their property owners, landlords or superintendents immediately. Tampering with, or removing the batteries from your smoke alarms is against the law. Failure to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements can result in a ticket for $235 or a fine of up to $100,000.