Homeowner, operator of unlicensed rooming house, plead guilty to fire code violations
One person died, several were injured in blaze at 117 Birkdale Road back on Dec. 29, 2015
Two people have pleaded guilty to Ontario Fire Code violations in connection with a fire at an unlicensed Scarborough rooming house nearly two years ago that left one person dead and injured several others.
Firefighters were called to a house at 117 Birkdale Rd., in the area of Lawrence Avenue East and Brimley Road, shortly before 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 29, 2015.
The flames started in the basement of the bungalow and by the time fire crews arrived, thick black smoke and flames were visible.
While firefighters were able to rescue multiple people and pets from the home, one person was pronounced dead and two dogs died.
The blaze also spread to a neighbouring home, but the family living there made it out safely.
On Thursday, the City of Toronto said that the property's owner, Jagdamba Joshi, and the operator of the unlicensed rooming house, Andre Durant, pleaded guilty to "multiple violations" of the fire code.
Joshi faces a $36,000 fine, and must pay a 25 per cent victim surcharge and cover court costs. Durant was given a suspended sentence plus a two-year probation order.
According to the city's release, the unlicensed rooming house was divided into six rooms that housed nine tenants.
On the morning of the fire, two of the occupants were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, while four others were taken to hospital with critical injuries.
The Ontario Fire Marshal's investigation determined that the fire was an accident. But the Toronto Fire Services investigation found "numerous violations" of the Ontario Fire Code relating to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, fire separations, the absence of a fire alarm system, and insufficient exit routes and signage, fire extinguishers and fire doors.
"This terrible fire is a grim reminder that violations of the Fire Code can pose serious risks and result in tragic consequences," Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop said in the news release.
"Toronto Fire Services is committed to ensuring appropriate measures are taken by property owners to achieve both compliance and fire safety."