Fines and Convictions Archives - Code Compliance

$1,875 fine to tenant after disabling smoke alarms in a Woodstock home…

October 1, 2015

After responding to a blaze in a Woodstock home on July 4th, the Woodstock Fire Prevention Bureau determined that the tenant had disabled the buildings smoke alarms.  During the post-fire inspection, it was determined that there were no working smoke alarms at the time of the fire.

Further investigation led to charges being filed against the tenant. During an October 1st, 2015 court appearance, the tenant pled guilty to disabling a smoke alarm and, failing to notify the landlord that the smoke alarm installed on the basement level was disabled. The tenant received a total fine of $1,500 and a victim fine surcharge totaling $1,875.

The Ontario Fire Code requires working smoke alarms on every floor of a home and outside all sleeping areas.

The owners/landlords are responsible for providing and maintaining smoke alarms, including battery replacement.

The tenants are now also required to notify the owner/landlord of any issue surrounding missing/damaged/non-functioning smoke alarms.

Owners Face up to $1.95M in Fines after a Fatal Kensington Market Fire

May 1, 2015

After a fire at an allegedly illegal rooming house in Kensington Market left two dead and 10 injured in March, the owners and their son-in-law are facing fines of up to $650,000 each for possible fire code violations.

Buu Vuong, Khanh Ly Diep and Trinh Lam each face 13 charges including failing to maintain smoke alarms in operating condition, failing to provide and clearly mark at least two exits per floor and failing to provide at least one fire extinguisher on each floor, according to court documents.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine and one year in jail.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Vuong, Diep and Lam could not be reached for comment.

It’s believed that at least a dozen people lived in units on two floors above a Korean restaurant at 6 St. Andrew St. — a property that has never been licensed as a rooming house by the city.

Neighbours said many of the residents were single, adult men from China and Vietnam, at the time of the fire.

Two children, aged 1 and 3, as well as an unconscious woman were also rescued from the blaze.

The property was allegedly operating as an illegal rooming house, under section 9.3 of the Fire code, said Capt. Cathy Robertson of the Toronto Fire Services legal division.

Section 9.3 applies to three-storey or smaller buildings where rooms are rented to more than four people. It outlines specific fire safety requirements including interconnected smoke alarm systems, fire separations, at least two clearly marked exits per floor and emergency lighting in stairwells and corridors.

In June, the owner of an illegal rooming house on Gladstone Ave. was ordered to pay $290,000 in fines and $70,000 in court costs after being charged with similar offences.

Building Owner Charged with Fire Code Retrofit Violations

December 2, 2013

A Kawartha Lakes apartment building owner was convicted and fined $2,500.00 for not providing proper fire separations in a building.   The charge stems from a fire that occurred on the main floor of the apartment in Lindsay. A rapid response from Kawartha Lakes Fire and Rescue Service, Station 1 in Lindsay limited structural damage from the fire to the area of origin.  The fire started in a lower floor apartment and spread through the open apartment door and into the main exit corridor, which was also interconnected to an apartment on the upper level. The corridor also suffered heat and smoke damage.  Fortunately, the tenants who resided in the upper level apartment were not home the night of the fire.  The amount of heat and smoke that escaped into the stairwell through the open door rendered exiting the upper apartment almost impossible.  The building did not comply with the fire separation requirements of Section 9.5 Retrofit of the Ontario Fire Code.  If the building complied with the applicable retrofit, damage from the fire would have been contained to the apartment where the fire originated.

Retirement Centre in Orangeville Fined $10,000

July 1, 2013

A Hamilton based owner of a retirement centre in the City of Orangeville plead guilty to 20 Ontario Fire Code violations and fined $10,000.  The charges included failure to maintain smoke alarms in operating condition, failure to ensure a portable fire extinguisher was easily accessible, failure to ensure emergency lighting units were tested monthly and failure to provide commercial cooking equipment with an exhaust system.

Initially the Orangeville Fire Department laid 28 charges against the centre upon inspection; an unprecedented number of charges laid by the Orangeville Fire Department at one address. The inspection was the result of a complaint from a fire suppression crew member that had responded to a medical emergency at the centre.

“It’s the responsibility of building owners to comply with the requirements of the Ontario Fire Code”, says Orangeville Fire Chief.  “By ensuring their buildings are in compliance, lives and property will be saved in the event of a fire.”  The Orangeville Fire Department makes an effort to work with the owners of buildings to achieve compliance with the Ontario Fire Code requirements. Contraventions of the Fire Code are chargeable upon discovery.

Burlington Landlord Convicted and Fined $15,000

April 5, 2013

A representative for the owner of a Burlington rental house appeared in an Ontario Court of Justice for two violations of the Ontario Fire Code. The charges were filed in connection with a Burlington Fire Department response to a house fire in the city in October 2008.

When fire crews were dispatched to the fire in the home just around 10:00 p.m., they found a female occupant and an infant. Both had narrowly escaped with their lives through a main floor bedroom window where a fire had started in the living room.

Crews quickly determined that there were no smoke alarms in the basement of the home and the alarm on the main floor had been intentionally disabled.  At the provincial court, a representative for the homeowner of the property entered a guilty plea for failing to install a smoke alarm in the basement and failing to maintain smoke alarms in operating condition.

The homeowner was fined $15,000, plus a victim’s surcharge fee of $3,750. At the time of the fire, a ticket for $235 was issued to the tenant for intentionally disabling the main floor alarm.

Hamilton Lodging House Owner Fined $17,000 for Retrofit Violations

March 2, 2013

The owner of a 2-storey lodging house, occupied by six student lodgers, has been found guilty of seven Ontario Fire Code violations and fined $17,000. 

The violations included Retrofit Section 9.3 violations involving failure to construct a fire separation having a 30-minute fire resistance rating between a first floor sleeping room and the adjacent stairs, failure to construct a fire separation having a 30-minute fire resistance rating between the basement and first storey, failure to install exit signs. 

Parts 2 and Part 6 violations included failure to remove combustible storage from under the basement stairs, failure to install portable fire extinguishers on the second and basement storeys, failure to maintain the portable fire extinguisher on the first storey and failure to prepare and submit a fire safety plan.

Fire Marshal urging Ontario fire departments to enforce zero tolerance approach….

February 13, 2013

The Fire Marshal of Ontario is urging fire departments throughout the province to adopt a zero tolerance approach when it comes to enforcing the Fire Code, effective immediately.

“Homeowners and landlords are not taking the fire code seriously” said the Fire Marshal of Ontario. “I’ve sent a letter to every Fire Chief in Ontario asking them to enforce a zero-tolerance approach and to prosecute homeowners and landlords who are not in compliance with the Fire Code.”

“It’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure their building is in accordance with the law,” said the fire marshal. “When are people going to get the message?

The Fire Code applies to all occupied buildings, whether owner-occupied or rented. For homeowners, tenants and individual landlords, non-compliance with the Fire Code can result in a fine of up to $50,000 and/or a year in jail.