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No working smoke alarms at fatal Toronto house fire, investigators say

March 12, 2021   by Liam Casey - THE CANADIAN PRESS

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TORONTO – There were no working smoke alarms inside a Toronto house where a fire killed four people, investigators said Friday.

The Office of the Fire Marshal said an electrical failure in the ceiling of the dining room in the early morning hours of Jan. 29 caused the fire.

Arija Celeste survived the fire, but lost her six-year-old son, her mother and two friends.

“Everyone must take fire safety seriously,” she said in a statement.

“Keep your family safe and make sure you have working smoke alarms and practise a home fire escape plan so everyone knows what to do when the alarm sounds.”

Firefighters were called out around 4:30 a.m. that morning and arrived to a home that was engulfed in flames.

Another friend was able to escape the fire.

Related: Four dead, several injured in three-alarm house fire in Toronto’s east end

Neighbours said the flames spread quickly through the second floor and several nearby houses were damaged.

“When a fire occurs, you may only have seconds to get out safely,” Fire Marshal Jon Pegg said in a statement.

“With the time change this weekend, I want to remind Ontarians to change the batteries in their smoke alarms and test them.”

There are no working smoke alarms in more than one-third of fatal fires in the province, the Office of the Fire Marshal said.

“Installing working smoke alarms and testing them monthly is the most important action an individual homeowner can take to protect themselves and their loved ones from the hazards associated with fire,” Pegg said.

Working smoke alarms must be installed on every storey and outside bedrooms, and need to be replaced every 10 years the office said.

Toronto Fire deputy chief Jim Jessop said everyone should know what to do in a fire and to practise an escape plan.

“We want to see you and your family standing outside your home if there is a fire,” Jessop said.


Feature image: Firefighters work to put out a house fire in Toronto, Friday, Jan.29, 2021. Fire ripped through an east-end Toronto home early Friday killing four people and injuring several others. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

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1 Comment » for No working smoke alarms at fatal Toronto house fire, investigators say
  1. Dean Sprung says:

    Such a tragedy and preventable. We try to do our part in two ways. 1. For every home renovation, we test, update or install wired smoke/co/strobe devices. We have a fire extinguisher on site and install it near an exit door for the home owner when the project is done. 2. We educate home owners about prevention in our book and blog articles available through our House Effects resources.


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