Earlier this month, the Ontario Court of Justice found two St. Catharines landlords guilty of violating the fire code at their apartment building on Maple Street. In reaction to the incident, the city of St. Catharines is warning other landlords to ensure their buildings comply with the Ontario Fire Code or they too will face hefty fines.
Fines to the landlords included a $5,000 penalty, plus costs and victim fine surcharges for multiple violations at their building. Reportedly, fire separation doors in the building had been propped open by door stoppers; combustibles had been stored in exit stairways, and the landlords had failed to keep records of regular testing of the building’s smoke alarms.
Fire Chief Dave Wood said landlords are required to make sure their buildings have working smoke alarms and that exits are clear to allow for a quick and easy escape for tenants in the event of fire.
“People need to feel safe in their own homes,” said Chief Wood. “Filling exits with clutter and failing to ensure smoke alarms are working doesn’t instill confidence in anyone that their home is fire safe. Worse still, when every second counts it puts lives at risk.”
Ontario law requires working smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas in a home, as well as working carbon monoxide outside all sleeping areas in homes with fuel-burning appliances, fireplaces and attached garages. A failure to comply could result in substantial fines.