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