Fatal fire statistics worry MV Fire Chief

Submitted by Madawaska Valley Fire Department

“Fire departments across Ontario and the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office are very concerned with the rise in fatal fires across the province,” says Corwin Quade, Madawaska Valley Fire Chief.

Quade told The Current that over the past three years fire fatalities have been rising and this disturbing trend is continuing during 2022. As of September 29th 2022 there have been 80 fatal fires in Ontario that have killed 96 people. Last year a total of 100 fatal fires accounted for 121 deaths and in 2020 there were 115 people who died in 104 fatal fires. A total of 1,056 Ontarians have been killed in fatal fires since 2011 – a figure equivalent to 81 percent of the population in Barry’s Bay or 23 percent of the total population of Madawaska Valley Township. He said these are staggering numbers when you consider that 79 percent of fires over past ten years were preventable. Causes of the remaining 21 percent of fatal fires were arson, homicide, suicide.

Smoke alarm requirements

The Fire Chief explained that 41 percent of fatal fires occur between 10:00 p.m. and 6:59 a.m. and that, in the majority of these fires, smoke alarms were not working. He pointed out that is the law that you have “A WORKING SMOKE ALARM ON EVERY LEVEL OF YOUR HOME AND OUTSIDE OF EACH SLEEPING AREA.” Newly constructed homes and homes that undergo a major renovation require a smoke/carbon monoxide/strobe/audible alarm on every level of the home outside every sleeping area and in each bedroom. Not having a smoke alarm may result in a fine of $360 per alarm that is not in working order or is not installed. Smoke alarms are required in any structure in which people sleep, including: camper trailers, mobile home, bunkies, cottages, hunting camps, RVs, converted school buses.

No time to lose when fire breaks out

A home will now burn eight times faster than a house built 50 years ago due to the materials that are used to build new homes. Quade said, “You have less than a minute to get out of your home when the alarm sounds. Your home can reach 900 degrees Fahrenheit in three minutes so when the alarm sounds you should get out, and call 9-1-1 from the meeting place away from your home.” He told us that the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has produced a video of a simulated fatal fire that the public can view on their social media or your local fire department’s page.

Quade ended with this plea: “Please everyone make sure smoke alarms are installed and working. If you have questions or concerns contact your local Fire Department; they will be more than happy to speak to you.”

For readers who are interested to see how quickly a fire can spread in a home, The Current has located a brief video on the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Twitter page. Click the link below to view:

LINK: https://twitter.com/ONFireMarshal/status/1512190983303307268

One comment

  1. Corwin Quade, Madawaska Valley Fire Chief, is one of the best Fire Chiefs we have ever had. I saw smoke coming from a neighbour’s home and went there, and no one was home, so I called 911, and our fire Chief Corwin had firefighters there in minutes. When our township started the first fire department, we had free fire inspections, and we inspected homes for free, and I surely would like to see that service come back to our township.

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