Calgary-area fire safety company with history of rule-breaking guilty of 15 code violations
Premium Fire Protection Ltd. and several employees and clients were charged in 2019
A Calgary judge has ruled a southern Alberta-based fire safety company is guilty of more than a dozen Fire Safety Code violations.
Premium Fire Protection Ltd. and several employees and clients were charged in July 2019.
The violations are connected to the installation of "life safety systems" by unqualified and uncertified employees.
Life safety systems are detection and suppression systems that include fire alarms, sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers.
In total, 65 charges were laid against 18 people and companies, some of whom have pleaded guilty over the last two years.
Employees said they felt bullied into work
On Friday, provincial court Judge Allan Fradsham ruled the Okotoks-based operation failed to ensure its employees performing work on safety equipment were qualified to do so.
Fradsham convicted Premium Fire Protection on 15 of its 24 charges.
"Premium allowed a number of unqualified and uncertified employees to perform work on fire alarms, suppression systems and portable fire extinguishers at several commercial buildings throughout the city," said prosecutor Jenna Graham.
Several former employees of Premium pleaded guilty in 2019 to several Fire Safety Code violations for doing work they were not qualified to perform.
Company broke rules before
In November 2019, two former employees of Premium pleaded guilty, telling the judge they felt bullied into doing work they were not qualified to do because there were "repercussions for refusing" assignments.
One former employee said he witnessed "numerous verbal threats" and "abuse" from the general manager of Premium.
A sentencing hearing for the company will take place at a later date.
For first-time offenders, penalties can be as steep as a $100,000 fine, and up to a $500,000 fines for subsequent offences, which could include jail time.
In October 2015, the general manager of Premium wrote a letter to the chief fire administrator admitting that between March 1, 2012, and Feb. 28, 2013, the company had performed inspections and maintenance on fire extinguishers in Calgary, Cochrane, Red Deer and Edmonton without valid certification, which was in violation of fire code regulations.
"I am sorry that the violations occurred," wrote Kurt Bertrand. "I have learned from this mistake and will ensure that the violations will not take place again."
As "contrition" for the violations, Premium made a $6,000 donation to the Calgary Firefighters Burn Treatment Society at the time.
It is unlikely this previous admission of breaching the safety code would count as a first offence since there was no formal plea entered in court.
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