Bar fined for fire code infractions
Bar fined for fire code infractions - ST. CATHARINES - Blocked exits on St. Patrick’s Day cost Barracuda Pretty $22,500 in fines under the fire code.
 
The bar, operated by 1356810 Ontario Inc., was slapped with the fine June 14 after being convicted of three counts of failing to maintain a fire exit, the St. Catharines Fire Service said. Each charge carried a $7,500 fine.
 
“Blocked exits are obviously a concern because in the event of an emergency, everyone looks for the exits and that’s where they go. It’s a huge hazard,” said chief fire prevention officer Nancy MacDonald-Duncan.
 
“The large fine reflects the seriousness of the infraction.”
 
She said the charges stem from an inspection by fire officials on March 17, 2011, at Barracuda Pretty on Ontario St.
 
The inspection was part of a joint-forces safety blitz conducted by the fire service, Niagara Regional Police and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
 
MacDonald-Duncan said three counts were laid because exits were blocked in three different areas of the bar.
 
“It’s not unusual for charges to be laid when we see non-compliance,” MacDonald-Duncan said.
She said it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the fire code.
 
“They need to know their responsibilities as an owner . . . especially when it comes to life safety issues,” she said.
A representative with Barracuda Pretty said he wasn’t aware of the fine when contacted Wednesday.
 
Also fined June 14 were apartment owners Paul and Etlak Kusnyer, who were convicted of failing to install a smoke alarm in one unit and failing to maintain a smoke alarm in another unit, the fire service said in a news release.
 
The court fined each owner $2,500 for each count, resulting in a total fine of $10,000.
 
Fire officials said charges were filed Aug. 9, 2011, after a complaint resulted in the inspection of their five-unit building at 22 St. Patrick St.
 
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for smoke alarm deficiencies,” MacDonald-Duncan said.
 
The fire service said inspections are normally a result of complaints or requests by the owner.
 
She said people who notice possible fire hazards are encouraged to report them to the fire service.
“It doesn’t hurt to call if there’s a concern,” she said.
 
Anyone with complaints or questions about fire code compliance can call the fire prevention division at 905-688-5601, ext. 4224.
 
By Erica Bajer, The Standard