Smoke alarms tampered with in fire-hit apartment building
Nearly half of the units in a Mount Forest apartment building struck by fire on Sundays didn’t have smoke detectors that were working properly.
David Guilbault, the fire chief for Wellington North, said that only six of the 10 units in the building had detectors that were working as they should.
Three had been intentionally “tampered with,” Guilbault said, while investigators have yet to figure out the issue with the fourth.
“We found someone sleeping, totally unaware that there was a fire in the building – and no working smoke alarm in that unit,” he said in an interview.
“It’s just not acceptable. It’s very, very disturbing.”
Two of the building’s tenants are facing $350 tickets, or potential court dates with the possibility of higher fines, after admitting to damaging smoke detectors.
The fire was noticed just before 11 a.m. Sunday, by a passerby who saw smoke coming from the apartment building’s roof.
Responding firefighters went door-to-door in the building, finding several people who weren’t aware that part of the complex was on fire.
Everybody living in the building is currently displaced, as power had to be shut off to the entire structure.
Guilbault says it “could be a week or two” before people are able to return to the front of the building, which saw much less damage than the back.
Dean Bell lives in one of the apartments at the front.
He wasn’t home when the fire began, and says he was notified about it by friends.
“There was no smoke damage in my apartment,” he said Tuesday.
“I’d like to get in and get my personal belongings, and try to figure out what I’m going to do next.”
The fire is believed to have started accidentally, possibly due to an electrical issue.
A firefighter who was injured when part of the building collapsed is “doing well” and should be back at work next week, Guilbault said.