The city's chief fire prevention officer says non-compliance when it comes to smoke alarms is an issue.

This comes after an investigation into last week's fatal fire on Thornberry Crescent. Thirty-year-old Martin Bossom died when a fire broke out there last Thursday. His girlfriend is recovering from critical injuries.

"The Ontario Fire Marshal has determined that the battery was not connected to the smoke alarm at the time of the fire. So we are able to say that there was no operational fire alarm at the time of this fire," said Windsor Fire and Rescue's Lee Tome.

Tome says the two able bodied adults should have made it out of the fire.

"It's a tragic reminder to residents and hopefully they'll take the time today to check the smoke alarm in their homes. Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home. It truly is the cheapest form of life insurance you can buy," he said.

Windsor Fire has yet to determine who disabled the alarm.

In 2011, Windsor Fire and Rescue services visited 1,345 dwellings, of which 43 per cent did not comply with the current requirements of having working smoke alarms at every level of the home and directly outside sleeping areas.

"So, obviously that's an issue," Tome said.

Tome said investigators won't know what happened at Thornberry Crescent until he speaks to female resident when she recovers.

Tome said property owners and tennants in any case share the responsibility of having working smoke detectors.

"The owner is responsible for supplying a smoke alarm, maintaining a smoke alarm and also supplying the operational or manufacturers instruction manual along with that smoke alarm," said Tome. "The tenant does have some responsibility, not to disable the alarm and to let the owner know ... if a battery needs to be replaced."

According to Tome, any home owner, including landlords can face fines under the Ontario Fire Prevention Act. If a landlord or home owner is deemed to be negligent, they may be ordered before a provincial judge and could face fines, and possible jail time.

Tome went on to say that criminal charges could also be laid by police in situations where a person is killed or injured as the result of a fire.

"We won't take on a client unless they agree to our terms," said Rent4all property management representative Paul Roullard. Roullard's company manages hundreds of properties across the city. He says they require landlords to allow a six month inspection of smoke detector in every rental they oversee.

"It's not required by law for small rental units, but it opens us up to all kinds of liability if they're not working," said Roullard, who is also a part of the Windsor Landlord Assistance Program. "It's in our best interest for the safety of tenants, and for us financially."

Tome says the damage at Thornberry Crescent is estimated at $275,000.

The Ontario Fire Marshall's office has finished its investigation at the scene.

It's not releasing any information about the cause of the fire.

According to the Ontario Fire code when it comes to rental units:

Interconnected smoke alarms
  • (1) This Article applies to interconnected smoke alarm systems in all residential occupancies and care occupancies, except in individual dwelling units and in buildings regulated by Section 9.8.
  • (2) Interconnected smoke alarms shall be tested and maintained in operating condition in conformance with CAN/ULC-S552, "Standard for the Maintenance and Testing of Smoke Alarms", and as required by this Article.
  • (3) The power supply shall be checked weekly.
  • (4) The operability of the interconnected system shall be confirmed monthly, by testing at least one smoke alarm using its test function, on a rotational basis.
  • (5) Where installed, each manual pull station shall be tested to ensure activation of the interconnected smoke alarms on an annual basis.
  • (6) Written records shall be kept of weekly checks of the power supply for at least six months after they are made, and be available upon request to the Chief Fire Official.
  • (7) Monthly and annual tests shall be recorded and kept in accordance with Article
  • (1) This Subsection applies to smoke alarms
  • (a) in dwelling units,
  • (b) in dwelling units regulated under Section 9.8,
  • (c) in guest suites, and
  • (d) in each sleeping room not within a dwelling unit.
  • (2) In Clause (1)(b),
  • "dwelling unit", in light face, means "dwelling unit" as defined in Sentence
Owner’s responsibility
  • (1) Smoke alarms shall be maintained in operating condition by the owner.
  • (2) For the purposes of Sentence (1), in rental dwelling units, including rental dwelling units regulated under Section 9.8, the landlord is deemed to be the owner.
  • (3)  In Sentence (2),
  • "dwelling unit", in light face, means "dwelling unit" as defined in Sentence
Instructions for tenants 
  • (1)  The landlord shall provide a copy of the smoke alarm manufacturer’s maintenance instructions or approved alternative to the occupant in each rental dwelling unit, including the occupant in a dwelling unit regulated under Section 9.8.
  • (2)  In Sentence (1),
  • "dwelling unit", in light face, means "dwelling unit" as defined in Sentence
  • Disabling not permitted 
  • No person shall intentionally disable a smoke alarm so as to make it inoperable.
  • (1)  When smoke alarms are being replaced, the installation shall not reduce the level of detection required by
  • (a) the Building Code in effect at the time of construction of the dwelling unit, or
  • (b) municipal by-laws in effect before this Subsection came into force, whichever is applicable.