Ontario Fire Marshal, Fire Chief, plead with public after deadly month

The Ontario Fire Marshal has taken to twitter to plead with the citizens of Ontario to be more vigilant when it comes to fire safety.

“I wish I could say Happy New Year, but my hope for 2022 was the fire fatality stats would improve. And sadly, we’ve gone the wrong way,” said Fire Marshal, Jon Pegg, regarding his hopes that this year would be better. “I’m here making another plea as fire marshal of Ontario. You need to be vigilant, you can’t sugarcoat it. And there’s no way to emphasize the importance of fire safety.”

He then dropped the saddening statistic that in the first 27 days of January 17 lives have been lost across the province, due to fire.

Sault Ste. Marie Fire Chief, Peter Johnson, re-iterated what Pegg was saying on social media.

“27 days & 17 fire-related deaths.  Whether your community has a volunteer or full-time Fire Service, 3 Firefighters, 15 Firefighters or 30 Firefighters responding, deaths still occur,” said Johnson in a tweet.  “@CitySSM ensure you have a working smoke alarm to protect yourself and family.”

Pegg continued his message, giving perspective on just how bad it can be and praising first responders.

“We’ve lost Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents, and Children. I can’t imagine losing a loved one to fire. And as a Father, I can’t even begin to fathom losing a child. My thoughts and prayers are with each of those families,” said Pegg.  “Not only to those families, but to the first responders that answered the call, and who without a second of hesitation, literally risked everything and attempt to save lives. I know all too well, the feeling of not being able to rescue. I know that each of you have to live with those images forever.”

SaultOnline has learned that the individual who was taken out of the fire at the Canuck motel in late December did eventually succumb to his injuries. That fire, which included an explosion, was confirmed by the owner to be because of a cigarette.

What Pegg asks for most is co-operation from Ontarians and he needs everyone’s help.

“Allow me to be very candid and blunt. This is not difficult, folks. I know that smoke alarms can be a nuisance when you’re cooking. I know that changing batteries may not be tough, but it has to be. I know that pushing a button to test each month is quickly forgotten. But it’s the only thing you can do to protect you and your family,” said Pegg. “And quite frankly, and to be very direct. I don’t think Ontarians are getting the message.”

He asked kids to have their parents test their alarms and if there isn’t one to ask them why.  He wants his message seen below to go viral. He wants people to be neighbourly and help someone test their alarm if they are unable to do so. He also that stresses if you have ANY questions about smoke alarms, reach out to your local fire service and speak with them.

Firefighters from all over the province with whom we have spoken with will tell you they would rather come help with a faulty alarm then respond to a blaze in which someone didn’t get out because it wasn’t working.

“Smoke alarms 100% save lives. I can tell you countless stories where this is true. But they only do so if they are working. And not only that, it’s the law. You also need to practice a home fire escape plan before a fire alarm sounds everyone needs to know what to do safely,” pleads Pegg. “My family means the world to me and I know you feel the same about yours. Please don’t become a statistic. Let’s challenge each other to make our homes and our communities fire safe. I would like nothing else to be able to post an update that says look up.”

The non-emergency phone number for Sault Fire Services is (705) 949-3333.


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