Some Ottawa seniors homes to install sprinklers before 2019
Blackburn Lodge plans to borrow money to install sprinklers ahead of Ontario's 2019 deadline
Note | The above map shows Ottawa-area retirement homes with and without in-suite sprinklers. Red means no in-suite sprinklers, or some, while blue means in-suite sprinklers are installed.
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Some Ottawa retirement homes that need to install automatic sprinklers say they plan to have it done well ahead of the 2019 deadline.
Several managers of older housing units told CBC News they're getting quotes and making plans to finance the costly retrofits.
Blackburn Lodge, a three-storey building with blue siding on a side street in Blackburn Hamlet, is one of several retirement homes in Ottawa that don't have automatic sprinklers in suites.
Jan Gnaedinger, who has lived at the lodge for nearly 14 years, said that while she watched the news of the fatal fire at a seniors home in Quebec, she didn't feel the risk personally.
"It was such a tragedy, but I haven't heard anyone express any fear about that sort of thing happening here," she said. "I wouldn't want to live anywhere else in terms of retirement homes."
Lodge will borrow money to install sprinklers, manager says
Gnaedinger said staff and residents at the lodge do monthly fire drills, during which everybody manages to get beyond a concrete fire wall in another wing within four minutes.
"The staff is so well prepared," she said. "I feel so comfortable here."
The nearest fire station is also just 700 metres away.
Dave Porter, a part-owner and manager, said Blackburn Lodge takes preparing for fire seriously, and knows the home needs the extra sprinklers installed.
"You know, it is a worry until we can get that done. It's not something you can do overnight," he aid. "It's a big job, it's an expensive job. Our initial ballpark estimate is about a quarter of a million dollars."
"But we're obviously going to do it and we're going to get on with it," Porter said.
Porter said cash flow is tight and the home will have to borrow for the sprinklers.