November 9, 2017
Owner and operator of property at 117 Birkdale Rd. plead guilty to Ontario Fire Code violations
Following a December 29, 2015 fire at 117 Birkdale Rd. in Toronto that claimed the life of one tenant, the property owner, Jagdamba Joshi, and the operator of the unlicensed rooming house, Andre Durant, yesterday pleaded guilty in Provincial Offences Court to multiple violations of the Ontario Fire Code.
The property owner has been fined $36,000 plus a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge and court costs. The operator received a suspended sentence plus a two-year probation order under section 72 of the Provincial Offences Act.
The cause of the fire at the unlicensed rooming house, which contained six rooms and was occupied by nine tenants, was determined by the Ontario Fire Marshal to be accidental. In addition to the fatality, the fire resulted in two occupants being treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and the remaining four occupants transported to a local hospital in critical condition.
"This terrible fire is a grim reminder that violations of the Fire Code can pose serious risks and result in tragic consequences," said Jim Jessop, Deputy Fire Chief with the City of Toronto. "Toronto Fire Services is committed to ensuring appropriate measures are taken by property owners to achieve both compliance and fire safety."
Subsequent to the fire, Toronto Fire Services conducted an inspection pursuant to Section 19 of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act. The inspection revealed numerous violations of the Ontario Fire Code related to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, fire separations, the absence of a fire alarm system and insufficient exiting, fire extinguishers, fire rated doors and exit signage.
Toronto Fire Services continues to work to reduce risk through fire prevention and enforcement strategies against owners who fail to meet the Ontario Fire Code and jeopardize the safety of individuals and responding firefighters. Fire Services is committed to ensuring that appropriate measures are taken by property owners to achieve fire safety through compliance with the Ontario Fire Code and the Fire Protection and Prevention Act.
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