Lack of smoke alarms in vaulted ceil­ing a fac­tor in Christ­mas Eve fire

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

TORONTO — In­ves­ti­ga­tors look­ing into an On­tario cot­tage fire that killed a fam­ily of four on Christ­mas Eve said Thurs­day that a lack of smoke alarms in the vaulted ceil­ing of the res­i­dence was a key fac­tor in the deaths.

The ex­act cause of the fire at the cot­tage on Stoney Lake is un­known, but in­ves­ti­ga­tors said the blaze that killed two Toronto lawyers and their sons last De­cem­ber started in the liv­ing room.

Scott Even­den, an in­ves­ti­ga­tor with the Of­fice of the Fire Mar­shal, said there were smoke alarms in the cot­tage but none in the vaulted ceil­ing or stair­well ar­eas.

As the smoke rose from the fire, it gath­ered in the vaulted ceil­ing and then spread hor­i­zon­tally be­fore trig­ger­ing any of the cot­tage’s smoke alarms, he said.

The fire de­stroyed the cot­tage and killed Jac­quie Gard­ner, her hus­band Ge­off Taber, and their two sons, Scott and An­drew. Po­lice have called it a Christ­mas tragedy.

Taber was a part­ner at the law firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, and the firm said that Gard­ner had also worked there be­fore mov­ing on to Al­tamira In­vest­ment Ser­vices.

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