‘This is the biggest fine I have seen,’ Welland fire chief says of supportive living home case
 ‘This is the biggest fine I have seen,’ Welland fire chief says of supportive living home case

A supportive living home in Welland paid a hefty price for not installing automatic sprinkler systems within the past five years.

Beatrice Manor on Tuessday was convicted and fined $35,000 under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act in Provincial Offences Court.
The home also faces a victim fine surcharge and court costs.
Kennedy said rules for existing care occupancies, care and treatment occupancies, and long-term care homes were changed in 2014 and all were required to phase in automatic sprinkler systems no later than Jan. 1, 2019.
"They had lots of time for this," Welland Fire and Emergency Services Chief Brian Kennedy said of the owners of 309 Beatrice St.
"I know it's a heavy dollar item (the sprinkler system) but they had an opportunity to budget for this."
The fire chief said there are between 14 and 20 residents in the home who require care, and a staff member is there 24 hours a day.
"The importance of a sprinkler system is to keep any kind of fire that takes place down to a minimum," said Kennedy.
Rules pertaining to sprinkler systems in homes can be complicated, but the chief said they generally apply to homes less than three storeys tall with at least four residents, two of which require care.
The rules apply to Beatrice Manor and the fire service knew nothing had been installed in the home.
When the Jan. 1 deadline passed, the fire service put an inspection order on the home and laid charges after finding no changes inside.
Kennedy said it was nice to see the court recognize the seriousness of the infraction.
"This is the biggest fine I have seen," said Kennedy, a firefighter for 36 years, including three as chief.
Welland fire prevention officers will continue to be aggressive when it comes to inspections and enforcing the fire code, he said.
While Beatrice Manor and two other property owners were fined Tuesday, the chief said there continues to be poor compliance in the city — about 50 per cent — when it comes to smoke alarms in family homes.
"It's totally unacceptable … I don't get it."
Smoke alarms are required on every level of a home and outside all sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide alarms are required outside all sleeping areas in homes with fuel-fired appliances.