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December 2, 2011
Smoke alarm saves three apartment occupants from fire
A smoke alarm is being credited with alerting occupants to a recent residential fire in Toronto. The City of Toronto's Fire Services responded to the apartment fire early in the morning on November 24 above a grocery store at 2995 Dundas St. W. Property loss from the two-alarm fire was later estimated at $100,000.

A Toronto Fire Services investigation revealed that a smoke alarm had awakened three sleeping occupants, making them aware of the fire. The investigation found that the fire started due to careless smoking. The fire eventually engulfed a couch and then the entire room. According to a tenant interviewed, the smoke alarm saved the occupants' lives - though a pet cat found later had died.

"Most fatal fires occur at night when people are sleeping - and that's why it is important for everyone to know exactly what to do when a smoke alarm sounds," said Fire Chief William Stewart. "In addition to residents having escape plans, all homes must have at least one working smoke alarm on every storey."

Safety facts about smoke alarms:
• The Ontario Fire Code Law states that all single-family homes, semi-detached homes and town homes, whether owner-occupied or rented, must have a working smoke alarm on every level and outside all sleeping areas.
• If anyone in a household sleeps with the bedroom door closed, the bedroom should have its own smoke alarm.
• Batteries should never be removed from smoke alarms to disable them. If nuisance alarm activation is a problem, you can try moving the alarm to another location, or consider purchasing an alarm with a hush feature that temporarily silences the alarm.
• Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
• Smoke alarms should be tested once a month and the batteries replaced every year.
• Establishing a home fire escape plan and having the entire household practise it is the best way to make sure everyone in the household knows what to do if a smoke alarm sounds.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people. Toronto's government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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