Calgary

Calgary landlord fined $40K for fire code breaches in secondary suite

A Calgary landlord has been slapped with a $40,000 fine for violating the fire code in a basement suite rented to a woman and her son.

Rental suite in McKenzie Lake 'failed to provide the minimum life safety standards'

The basement suite that didn't meet the fire code requirements was rented to a mother and her son. (David Bell/CBC)

A Calgary landlord has been slapped with a $40,000 fine for violating the fire code in a secondary suite rented to a woman and her son.

John Wade Jr. was convicted in provincial court on Tuesday of four Safety Codes Act offences in his residential rental property in southeast Calgary, the city said in a release.

"We are pleased with the court's decision to convict the property owner and impose a substantial fine for his violations of the Alberta Fire Code," said the city's prosecutor, Paul Frank.

"People need to be safe when living in secondary suites and this conviction and significant fine sends the message that property owners with secondary suites must comply with all requirements of the Alberta Fire Code."

The suite's owner was also ordered to pay a $6,000 victim surcharge.

The court found that suite in McKenzie Lake did not have at least one outside window in each bedroom, required under the Alberta Building Code.

It also was found to have "failed to provide the minimum life safety standards in a secondary suite" set out in the Alberta Fire Code, including:

  • Failing to ensure that smoke alarms are interconnected and are permanently connected to an electrical circuit.
  • Failing to ensure that carbon monoxide alarms are interconnected and permanently connected to an electrical circuit.
  • Not having a fire separation for the furnace room that met the requirements as specified in the Alberta Fire Code.

"The Fire Enforcement Compliance team always prefers to achieve compliance through education. However, when that's not possible, legal action becomes necessary in the interest of public safety," said Jim Robinson, fire marshal for the Calgary Fire Department.

"As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Parkdale basement fire, we're reminded how important it is to protect the public from injury or even death."

In January 2009, there was a fatal fire in a secondary suite in the community of Parkdale that claimed the lives of three young adults and seriously injured a fourth person.

Fire investigators concluded the basement fire was caused by a space heater and discovered that there were no proper exit windows. The only smoke alarm in the suite was not interconnected between the suites.

The owners of the property pleaded guilty to violating the Alberta Fire Code. The judge imposed a fine of $86,250 for fire code violations and $2,875 for the public health offences.