Nova Scotia

2 residents appeal safety order at Waverley seniors home

On March 1, fire officials ordered five residents to leave Adelaide Senior Home Care on Rocky Lake Drive within 30 days because they were too infirm to escape the unlicensed facility in the event of a fire. 

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency says it can't take action during appeal process

The Adelaide is a seniors care home in Waverley, N.S. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

Halifax Fire and Emergency says that while a seniors residence in Waverley, N.S., remains unsafe, it can't take action while two residents appeal a fire safety order. 

"From a fire safety perspective, of course we're concerned," said Matt Covey, division chief of fire prevention. "I'd like to see this come to a safe conclusion as quickly as possible."

On March 1, fire officials ordered five residents to leave Adelaide Senior Home Care on Rocky Lake Drive within 30 days because they were too infirm to escape the unlicensed facility in the event of a fire. 

The facility lacks a sprinkler system and approved magnetic doors required for licensed long-term care facilities. 

The building is also over two storeys, which is the limit for a building made of combustible materials. 

'Substantial renovation' required, fire official says

A followup inspection Monday found the same issues. 

"So it's not just putting in a couple of lights here and a couple door closures there," Covey said. "This would require a substantial renovation to make it safe for people who can't self-evacuate."

Three of the residents have left the home. 

But two remain. They have appealed the order to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. 

"My clients are aged 94 and 96, and suffer from severe dementia. Relocating them, particularly in a rush, is unreasonable and could cause further, significant health deterioration," Halifax lawyer Tracey Smith wrote to the Office of the Fire Marshal on March 11.

Smith is asking for her clients to remain in the home while renovations take place to bring it up to code. 

She wrote that the decision-makers for the two residents believe the home's interim fire plan is adequate while renovations take place. 

Upcoming hearing

Covey said a hearing will take place before the board on April 12. 

The fire service will fight for permission to enforce the safety order. 

"We've been working on this file for a couple of years now, and we've asked for those renovations to take place, and over over the course of that time we haven't seen a lot of change to the building," Covey said. 

"We have no reason to expect that future renovations will happen any faster rate," he said. 

A spokesperson for the board said 22 fire orders have been appealed since 2008. 

Only four were fully or partly successful. The rest were either settled, dropped or dismissed. 

The manager of the Adelaide Senior Care Home declined to comment on the appeal, or any other aspect of the case.

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