Careless smoking caused Valentine's Day fire that killed Brampton family: Fire marshal
Careless smoking caused Valentine's Day fire that killed Brampton family: Fire marshal 
Brampton Guardian
April 12, 2017
Article by Pam Douglas
 

 

Nine-year-old was only survivor                 

 
Careless smoking was the cause of a devastating house fire that all but wiped out an entire Brampton family on Valentine’s Day, the Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) has concluded.
 
And, the backsplit home, which was required by law to have two smoke detectors in it, had none, said Rick Derstroff, the OFM’s supervising investigator.
 
Jyoti Kapadia, who just turned 45 the day before the fire, her husband Iftekhar Niazi, and their oldest daughter Amina Kapadia, 18, were all killed in the 4 a.m. blaze in their semi-detached backsplit on Madison Street Feb. 14.
 
The couple’s youngest daughter, Zoya Kapadia, 9, was the only survivor, rescued by Sheldon Teague, 19, who braved flames and deadly smoke to carry her from the house. She suffered burns and was treated at the Hospital for Sick Children. 
 
And while careless smoking was the cause of the fire, which started in the front living room of the upper level of the home, it was the lack of early smoke detection that can be blamed for their deaths, said Derstroff.
 
“If there was a functioning smoke detector, this wouldn’t have resulted in the tragedy it was,” he said.
 
While the OFM investigation has concluded, it is up to Brampton Fire and Emergency Services investigators to determine if any charges will be laid under the Ontario Fire Code.
 
The house was a rental and the landlord lived offsite. The Kapadia family lived in the upper level, a separate family lived in the legally-registered basement apartment, where Teague was staying overnight while visiting a friend.
 
Derstroff said Teague’s heroics in saving Zoya are the only good that came of the tragedy.
 
“What if he wasn’t there?” he said. “I don’t think anybody could have done what he did.”