Toronto building owner fined almost $100,000 for fire code violations

Toronto building owner fined almost $100,000 for fire code violations
Toronto.ca

Toronto building owner fined almost $100,000 for fire code violations tied to fire at an industrial building containing chemicals often used to produce methamphetamine 

Toronto Fire Services, as part of its ongoing efforts to promote awareness of hazards that have resulted in violations of the Ontario Fire Code, is reporting on a recent court ruling and fines involving a site where combustible chemicals were stored. 
 
A large quantity of highly flammable and combustible chemicals commonly used for the production of methamphetamine were found in connection with a fire at 96 Rivalda Dr. in 2017. The property owner, identified as 1203943 Ontario Inc., pleaded guilty in Provincial Offences Court on December 21, 2018 to multiple violations of the Ontario Fire Code. 
 
1203943 Ontario Inc. was fined $93,000 plus a 25 per cent Victim Fine Surcharge and court costs for numerous violations of the Ontario Fire Code. 
 
"This fire is a reminder of the significant risks our firefighters often encounter and the significant danger associated with the production of illicit drugs such as methamphetamine," said Jim Jessop, Deputy Fire Chief with the City of Toronto. 
 
"Toronto Fire Services will use all available enforcement tools in situations like this that result in a serious threat to public safety and responding fire fighters." 
 
The violations include: 
  • Count 1: activities creating a hazard not permitted in the original building design – fine of $50,000 
  • Count 2: no signage to indicate where smoking not permitted – suspended sentence 
  • Count 3: no fire safety plan – fine of $2,000 
  • Count 4: electrical equipment not in conformance with Electrical Safety Code – fine of $1,000 
  • Count 5: spill of flammable or combustible liquids not prevented from flowing outside spill area – fine of $5,000 
  • Count 6: no approved and implemented spill control procedures– fine of $5,000 
  • Count 7: no ventilation provided – fine of $5,000 
  • Count 8: excessive volume of flammable and combustible liquids, and insufficient fire separation – fine of $5,000 
  • Count 9: storage room not designed to prevent critical structural and mechanical damage from internal fire explosion – fine of $5,000 
  • Count 10: compressed gas not stored as required– fine of $5,000 plus surcharges 
  • Count 11: no required fire separation where hydrogen chloride compressed gas cylinders stored – fine of $5,000 
  • Count 12: cylinders containing poisonous compressed gas stored in a room containing combustible and flammable liquid– fine of $5,000 
In addition to the fines related to the violations of the Ontario Fire Code, Toronto Fire Services ordered the owner to pay $137,000 for the costs incurred for safely removing the thousands of liters of highly flammable and combustible chemicals from the property after the fire. 
 
Given the significant damage caused by the fire, Toronto Fire's investigators classified the cause of the fire as undetermined. 
 
Toronto Fire Services continues to work to reduce risk through fire prevention and enforcement strategies against owners who fail to meet the Ontario Fire Code and jeopardize the safety of individuals and responding firefighters. Fire Services is committed to ensuring that appropriate measures are taken by property owners to achieve fire safety through compliance with the Ontario Fire Code and the Fire Protection and Prevention Act.