Gladstone rooming house fire: owner fined $350K
Fines levied for blocked exits, lack of a fire plan
The owner of an illegal rooming house in the city's west is facing $350,000 in fines after a two-alarm fire last fall that critically injured two people including a man who remains in hospital.
The fire broke out at 244 Gladstone Ave. — located just north of Dundas Avenue West — before 8 a.m. on Oct. 8, 2013. The fire spread rapidly from the main floor of the rooming house to its upper floors.
Many tenants had to be rescued, including a man who was trapped in his room. He survived after being rescued by a neighbour but remains in hospital.
Capt. Cathy Robertson of Toronto Fire Services says the property had multiple fire code violations including obstructed exits, a lack of operating smoke alarms along with missing fire extinguishers and exit signs.
Robertson says rooming house owners who don't comply with the city's fire codes can expect to see more fines like this in the future.
"We've had numerous fire deaths in illegal rooming houses so I think you're going to start to see fines like this become more standard in dealing with them," Robertson told CBC News. "We've never received fines this high on convictions in the past."
Robertson said rooming house owners should call for inspections to make sure their buildings comply with the fire code.
"It's the owner's responsibility to let us know that they're running a rooming house," she said. "We'll go in and do an inspection and advise them what work needs to be done to come into compliance with the fire code."
With files from CBC's Michelle Cheung