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Owner, operator plead guilty in fatal 2015 rooming house fire

Last Updated Nov 9, 2017 at 1:09 pm EDT

Firefighters at the scene after a fire broke out at a home on Birkdale Road, near Brookridge Drive, on Dec. 29, 2015. CITYNEWS/Jeff Ducharme.

Both the property owner and the operator of an unlicensed rooming house in Scarborough have pleaded guilty to multiple violations of the Ontario Fire Code after a tenant was killed in a massive fire nearly two years ago.

The blaze broke out at the semi-detached bungalow on Birkdale Road, near Midland Avenue and Ellesmere Road, in December 2015.

There were seven people in the home at the time, with two families living on the first floor and in the basement. Four people were taken to hospital, one of whom later died.

Two dogs were also killed in the fire, while three other pets were rescued.

A Toronto fire investigation found that there were actually nine people living in the home, sharing six bedrooms.

The investigation also found numerous fire code violations related to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, fire separations, number of exits and fire-rated doors.

Both the owner of he home and a tenant who was subletting to others were charged.

Property owner Jagdamba Joshi has been fined $36,000, plus a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge and court costs, while the rooming house operator Andre Durant received a suspended sentence, plus a two-year probation order.

The cause of the fire at the unlicensed rooming house was deemed accidental by the Ontario fire marshal.