Property owners pay heavily for skimping on smoke detectors

Alycia Douglass

Published on March 31, 2017

CORNWALL, Ontario - Fire prevention officers spent the afternoon inspecting two Second Street low-rise apartment buildings.

Fire prevention officers conducted a routine investigation of two Second Street buildings, finding that neither had working smoke detectors. (Alycia Douglass)

The inspection revealed that neither building had working smoke detectors. According to the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services, every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. Failure to do this could result in fines ranging from a $265 infraction to a penalty as costly as $50,000.

Cornwall fire chief, Pierre Voisine says that this sort of disregard for public safety is totally unacceptable. “If you’re a property owner who isn’t staying on top of fire code regulations, you’re essentially taking your tenants lives into your own hands,” said Voisine.

While fire prevention officers typically conduct these inspections at random, Voisine says that tenants should contact the fire department if they feel that something in their building is unsafe. Though fire prevention officers can issue fines, they are typically lenient with structural changes which cannot be implemented as quickly.

“We try to be fair about certain things,” said Voisine. “It really depends on severity of issue.”

Failure to install working smoke detectors, however, is considered a much more serious offense.


While the property owner was not present during the time of the investigation, new smoke detectors were being installed to comply with fire standards and ensure safety.