DISMISSING SMOKE ALARM PLAYS ROLE IN NORTH TORONTO FATAL FIRE
Ontario Fire Marshal releases cause of fire
TORONTO — The Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) is confirming that the cause of the fire at 235 Gosford Blvd., in Toronto was accidental. A space heater in one of the apartment’s bedrooms was too close to combustibles and caused the fire in which one person tragically perished and six others were injured.
“This tragic fire reinforces the need for those who live in high-rises, and other occupancies where tenants live, to learn what to do if a fire occurs in your building,” said Jon Pegg, Ontario Fire Marshal. “Learn about the fire safety features in your building and the emergency procedures outlined in the building’s fire safety plan. This includes knowing the locations of exit stairs from your floor in case the nearest one is blocked and evacuating if you hear a smoke alarm.”
Several factors played a role in this fire’s tragic outcome including:
- When the battery-operated smoke alarm in the apartment activated prior to the fire being discovered, it was dismissed as false.
- When the occupants discovered the fire, they attempted to extinguish it themselves instead of evacuating and calling 9-1-1.
- Notification to the fire department only occurred once a smoke detector in the eighth-floor common area activated the monitored alarm system.
- At the time of arrival by emergency services, the fire conditions were such, that survival of the occupant and rescue by the firefighters was untenable.
The OFM assigned a team of six investigators to this fire, including Forensic Fire Protection Engineers and specialists who are mandated under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act (FPPA) to investigate the cause, origin and circumstances of fire or explosions that result in a fatality or serious injury.
The OFM worked with the Office of the Chief Coroner, Toronto Police Service and Toronto Fire Services throughout this investigation. The OFM’s investigation into the origin, cause and circumstances of this fire has now been concluded.
Steps to protect yourself and your family include:
- Treat all smoke alarm activations as serious. Smoke alarms will alert you and your family if a fire occurs. Dismissing them puts everyone at risk.
- Keep space heaters at least one metre (three feet) away from anything that can burn. Place in a location where it will not get tipped over.
- You are responsible for your family’s safety. Develop and practice a home fire escape plan.
- When your smoke alarms sound, the best thing to do is to get everyone out and call 9-1-1 from outside the building.