Sound­ing alarm on alarms

Lat­est fa­tal­i­ties in deadly win­ter for fires in On­tario prompts call to check alarms, pre­pare es­cape plan

The Peterborough Examiner - - OPINION - EX­AM­INER STAFF -- with files from Kevin Con­nor, Post­media Net­work -- The Cana­dian Press

Peter­bor­ough Fire Chief Chris Snetsinger is urg­ing Peter­bor­ough res­i­dents to make sure they have work­ing smok­ing alarms and a home fire es­cape plan in the wake of Tues­day’s house fire in Brampton that killed three peo­ple, the lat­est in a string of deadly house fires across On­tario this win­ter

“Many fa­tal fires oc­cur at night when every­one is asleep, so early warn­ing is cru­cial to sur­vival,” Snetsinger stated in a re­lease. “The On­tario Fire Code re­quires work­ing smoke alarms on ev­ery storey of the home and out­side all sleep­ing ar­eas. For added pro­tec­tion, our fire depart­ment is rec­om­mend­ing that you also in­stall a smoke alarm in ev­ery bed­room.”

The city fire depart­ment ad­vises that just as im­por­tant as hav­ing work­ing smoke alarms is mak­ing sure every­one at home knows ex­actly what to do to es­cape be­fore a fire oc­curs.

“We want to make sure th­ese types of tragedies do not hap­pen in Peter­bor­ough,” Snetsinger stated.

Of­fi­cials are in­ves­ti­gat­ing why the fa­tal Brampton house fire ap­pears to have had non-func­tional fire alarms and who may be to blame.

On Tues­day, a hus­band and wife and their teenaged daugh­ter were killed in their Brampton rental home in the area of Dixie Rd. and Wil­liams Pkwy.

The cou­ple’s nine-year-old daugh­ter re­mains in se­ri­ous con­di­tion at The Hospi­tal for Sick Chil­dren with third-de­gree burns.

The first fire crews on scene re­ported there were no fire alarms go­ing off in the burn­ing res­i­dence, rais­ing ques­tions about what or who may be at fault.

“That’s part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” said Brampton deputy fire chief Peter Gatto.

“We will take the smoke alarms to be tested (to find out) if they were op­er­a­tional ... then we may look at im­pli­ca­tions to the land­lord.”

By law, land­lords are re­spon­si­ble for alarms, but ten­ants have been known to dis­able the de­vices.

On Wed­nes­day, the On­tario Fire Mar­shal was wait­ing for au­top­sies to be com­pleted be­fore re­turn­ing to the scene for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion Thurs­day, said Rick Der­stroff, an in­ves­ti­ga­tor su­per­vi­sor with the OFM.

It’s not clear when nine-year-old Zoya may be re­leased from hospi­tal. • • • • In­stall smoke alarms on ev­ery storey and out­side all sleep­ing ar­eas of your home. For added pro­tec­tion, in­stall a smoke alarm in ev­ery bed­room ac­cord­ing to man­u­fac­turer’s rec­om­men­da­tions. In­stall car­bon monox­ide alarms out­side all sleep­ing ar­eas if your home has a fu­el­burn­ing ap­pli­ance, fire­place or at­tached garage. For added pro­tec­tion, in­stall a car­bon monox­ide alarm on ev­ery story of your home ac­cord­ing to man­u­fac­turer’s rec­om­men­da­tions. Test smoke and car­bon monox­ide alarms monthly by press­ing the test but­ton. Smoke and car­bon monox­ide alarms wear out over time. Re­place alarms ac­cord­ing to man­u­fac­turer’s rec­om­men­da­tions. • • • • • • • • Flames broke out at an iso­lated home near Chatham in late Jan­uary. Two vic­tims were re­ported dead in the blaze in the tiny vil­lage of Bent­path. A Christ­mas Eve fire at a cot­tage near McCracken’s Land­ing on Stoney Lake, north­east of Peter­bor­ough, killed a mother and fa­ther plus their two sons. A fire in a home in Port Col­borne, Ont. killed an 83-year-old woman, her 37-yearold grand­daugh­ter and her two great­grand­chil­dren. About 12 hours later, a blaze in the in­dige­nous com­mu­nity of Oneida Nation of the Thames, south of Lon­don, Ont., killed a fa­ther and his four chil­dren. The vic­tims ranged in age from 43 to three months old. Three peo­ple died and an­other three were in­jured in a house fire in Hamil­ton in Oc­to­ber. A fire in the south­west­ern On­tario town of Dorch­ester, Ont. killed a 21-year-old man and sent a 19-year-old woman to hospi­tal with se­ri­ous in­juries last Au­gust. The woman never left hospi­tal and died of her in­juries days af­ter the blaze. A house fire that en­gulfed two Hamil­ton homes in Au­gust left a mother and her two chil­dren dead and seven peo­ple with vary­ing de­grees of in­juries. Three gen­er­a­tions of a sin­gle fam­ily died in March 2016 when a fire dec­i­mated a home on the Pikangikum First Nation. The nine vic­tims in­cluded a months-old in­fant.


Peter­bor­ough fire Chief Chris Snetsinger and pub­lic ed­u­ca­tor Amanda Ni­chols dis­play smoke alarms.

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