L'Isle-Verte fire highlights a growing danger in Alberta

The tragic fire at a Quebec seniors' home highlights a growing danger in Alberta's senior care homes.

Only nursing homes built after 1990 in Alberta require sprinkler systems

A firefighter walks past the Residence du Havre after a fire in L'Isle Verte, Quebec, January 23, 2014. At least eight people died and 24 are missing after a fire ripped through the wooden three-story residence for the elderly in Quebec Thursday morning. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger (Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)

The tragic fire at a Quebec seniors' home is highlighting a growing danger in Alberta's senior care residences.

Only parts of the L'Isle-Verte seniors' home had sprinkler systems and there was no legal requirement for them to be installed. Regulations vary across the country but in Alberta, many seniors' residences aren't required to have sprinklers — and that has Calgary fire officials worried.

"Sprinklers work, residential or in a care facility," said Brad Lorne, deputy Chief of the Calgary Fire Department. "They will save lives."

Under Alberta law, nursing homes built before 1990 don't have to be equipped with sprinklers.

The province could not provide information on how many nursing homes in Alberta have systems installed.

However, it does have some numbers for independent seniors' lodges, where cooking and cleaning is provided.

There are 153 of those facilities in the province — but two-thirds of those were built before 1990 and only 20 of the older buildings have sprinklers installed.

Lorne says families need to start asking more questions about fire safety before facility owners will feel the need to pay for sprinklers.

"If people start asking the question, 'Is my loved one going to be safe in case of a fire,' these owners will start to step up and start installing these systems."