PEI

Rebuild of Charlottetown apartments destroyed in July fire may include sprinklers

Piece by piece, a Charlottetown apartment that was destroyed by a major fire last month, will soon be rebuilt, according to the company that owns it. 

'A four-storey building would have to have sprinklers'

Fire patterns revealed the origin of the fire was in the mulch in the back corner of the building. The apartment building was deemed to be a total loss. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Piece by piece, a Charlottetown apartment that was destroyed by a major fire last month, will soon be rebuilt, according to the company that owns it. 

The fire at 10 Harley Street ravaged the 29-unit building and displaced all 52 residents, many of whom were seniors. 

Fire patterns revealed the origin of the fire was in mulch in the back corner of the building.

The Charlottetown market is very tight, there's little to no vacancy so adding additional units to the market would be best.— Robert Richardson

The company which owns the building, Killam Apartment REIT, has plans to rebuild with an additional storey, said Robert Richardson, executive vice president with the company. 

With the added storey, the apartment building could have an additional 10 more units, if the company acquires the necessary permits, he said. 

"The Charlottetown market is very tight, there's little to no vacancy so adding additional units to the market would be best," Richardson said. 

The building is just a few years old. (Samantha Juric/CBC)

Layout changes and a sprinkler system

Rebuilding is also giving the company an opportunity to potentially make changes to the layouts of the units and install a sprinkler system, he said. 

The Harley Street fire prompted the Charlottetown Fire Department to advocate for more sprinklers to be added to city apartments. 

The requirement for a sprinkler system in a residential building in Charlottetown is based on the number of storeys, the type of construction and the building area.

The company anticipates the new building to be completed by summer 2020.  (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Generally, a three-storey residential building is not required to have sprinklers unless it exceeds the building-area limits. 

"A four-storey building would have to have sprinklers," Richardson said, "That's why it wasn't sprinklered, because the zoning and I think, the actual building code permitted a three-storey building not be sprinklered but as most would agree, sprinklers would be better," he said. 

Demolition of the apartment building could begin as early as next week, Richardson said. 

The company anticipates the new building to be completed by summer 2020. 

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