Toronto Fire and the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office with an update on Saturday regarding the deadly blaze in an apartment complex which killed three in Scarborough on Friday.
Speaking to media out front of the building, Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop says the outcome of the fire likely would have been different if the complex was built to today’s standards, requiring a full coverage sprinkler system.
“We want to be clear that this building was compliant under the Ontario Building code, as it was built prior to 2007.” said Jessop “Portions of the building are sprinklered. If this building was built today, sprinklers would be required in every suite and outer hallways.”
He was referring to the partial sprinkler system in the building which was all that was required according to Ontario building codes before 2007. There is no requirement to retroactively upgrade buildings of this class.
“This is an apartment that houses individuals who are older than 59, so there is no provincial legal requirement for any municipal fire departments to conduct routine inspections at these types of occupancies. They would be under retirement homes and long-term care homes, but this building does not fall under that classification.” said the Deputy Chief “We are conducting a post fire investigation, and can confirm that Toronto Fire services has not inspected the building in the last couple of years.”
No cause has been determined, either, but Jessop did reveal that thick black smoke, a major hindrance in the rescue operation, was the result of burning polyurethane furniture.
Residents on the fifth floor have not returned to their units and it was not revealed when they could.
Earlier, TCHC president & interim CEO Greg Spearn said the building had a full inspection on January 22nd, and everything was up to standards, however, that inspection was not conducted by Toronto Fire Services.
The fatal blaze started on the fifth floor in a common area. The building had a lot of seniors in the residence, but was not a seniors residence, accord to the Fire Marshall’s office.
Toronto Fire were called to the apartment building on Neilson Road, north of Sewells Road, shortly after 3 p.m. Friday.