Ontario’s Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) says there were no working smoke alarms in a Brampton home where a fire killed three members of the same family last week.
Brampton Fire Prevention Division Chief Andrew Van Holt confirmed the semi-detached bungalow on Madison Street, near Bovaird Drive and Dixie Road, was registered as a legal multi-unit dwelling back in 2000 and underwent a building and fire code inspection at that time. But according to Fire Code regulations, regular inspections don’t need to be conducted.
“Back then when we registered that property, the inspection was conducted and it was compliant with… the fire code. It’s up to the owner to maintain that,” said Van Holt. “We inspect them based on complaints and requests by owners to come in and inspect their facilities.”
Provincial regulations don’t allow municipal fire inspectors to enter a multi-unit dwelling and conduct an inspection without the owner’s permission. Brampton city councillors say they’ve repeatedly tried to gain the right of entry.
“When the province legalized basement apartments, once of the first things council said is we have to have the right of entry, the ability to inspect these apartments to ensure that they’re safe, said Coun. Gael Miles. “But as of yet, we have not been able to get that legislation passed.”
“A lot of times we don’t have the authority to go knock and the door and say, ‘Can we check your basement apartment, make sure all the safety’s there?’” added Coun. Pat Fortini. “We don’t have that authorization. People close the doors.”
The Feb. 14 fire claimed the lives of three people — 19-year-old Amina Kapadia and her parents, Iftekhar Niazi, 48, and Jyoti Kapadia, 45.
The family was renting the main floor of the house. A tenant in the home’s basement apartment rescued the couple’s nine-year-old daughter. She’s still recovering from third-degree burns and smoke inhalation.
OFM Spokeswoman Carol Gravelle said it will be up to Brampton’s fire department to decide if charges will be pursued against the owner of the home.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
With files from The Canadian Press