October 28th, 2020

Alberta Fire Code charges laid in fatal house fire


By Jensen, Randy on September 25, 2020.

A makeshift memorial lines a fence at the scene of a fire that took the life of a resident and his dog in July of last year. Herald photo by Greg Bobinec @GBobinecHerald

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

After a year-long investigation, the City of Lethbridge has charged two people with several Alberta Fire Code violations related to a fire in south Lethbridge which claimed the life of a middle-aged man and his dog last year.

Chief Fire Marshal Heath Wright confirmed the charges at a press conference held at Fire Headquarters on Thursday.

According to Wright, the charges include improper bedroom exit windows, lack of required smoke alarms, no carbon monoxide alarms, and lack of proper fire separations for the furnace room. Under the Safety Codes Act each violation, in the case of a first offence, holds a fine of up to $100,000 and/or six months in jail.

The man who died was a tenant in an illegal secondary suite, Wright confirmed, but said he would not release the identities of the two individuals charged for now.

“Eventually they will be named,” he confirmed. “At this time I won’t be talking about the case at all, or any of the evidence, because it is before the courts.”

Wright said these charges should serve as a strong warning to other local landlords who may have illegal secondary suites in any building they may own, particularly if those suites do not follow regulations to ensure tenant safety as outlined in the Safety Codes Act.

“I would like to emphasize it is the owner’s responsibility to understand the laws,” he warned. “It’s not the fire department’s. It is not the tenant’s. It is the owners of these rental properties, and this is a very serious situation.”

Last July the Lethbridge Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the 600 block of 5 Street South. Upon arrival, crews were notified there was a possible victim and his dog inside. After entering the structure, fire crews discovered the victim and the dog both deceased.

Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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