TORONTO — Sources say the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) has been charged under the Ontario Fire Code in connection with a fatal fire at a seniors’ building that killed three people and left 12 others hospitalized earlier this month.
Multiple sources have confirmed to Global News that TCHC faces one charge in connection with section 2.4.2 of the Ontario Fire Code.
That section states that combustible materials (other than those for which the location, room or space is designed) cannot be permitted to “accumulate in any part of an elevator shaft, ventilation shaft, means of egress, service room or service space.”
It’s alleged that a combustible piece of furniture was located near a means of egress, either an exit or an access to an exit, at the Neilson Hall Apartments building located at 1315 Neilson Rd.
The Fire Code defines a “means of egress” as a “continuous path of travel” for the “escape of persons from any point in a building or contained open space to a separate building, an open public thoroughfare or an exterior open space protected from fire exposure from the building and having access to an open public thoroughfare.”
When reached by Global News, both Toronto Community Housing and Toronto Fire declined to comment beyond confirming there will be an update provided by Toronto Fire Chief Jim Sales, Deputy Chief Jim Jessop and interim president and CEO of TCHC Greg Spearn at noon on Wednesday.
Under the Fire Code, any corporation convicted of an offence can face a fine of up to $100,000.
Paramedic spokesman Peter Rotolo said earlier this month four people were taken to hospital in critical condition after the Feb. 5 blaze – and three were later pronounced dead.
Rotolo said paramedics and firefighters pulled them from apartments on the top floor of the five-storey building.
A fire spokesman said some of the seniors were brought down on ladders because the hallways were too full of smoke.
WATCH: Three people are dead and 12 others are in hospital after a two alarm fire at a seniors’ home in Scarborough. Ashley Carter reports.
Division commander Bob O’Halloran said Feb. 5 that the origin of the fire remained under investigation, but noted that much of the damage appeared to have occurred in the fifth-floor hallway.
O’Halloran added there were challenges in getting people out of the apartments and that firefighters “forced quite a few doors.”
Jeff Tebby, a spokesman for Ontario’s Fire Marshal, said most of the damage was in a fifth floor hallway area.
He also said the building met fire code requirements on sprinklers but investigators were going to determine whether smoke detectors were adequate. There was no immediate indication that the residents couldn’t move out of danger quickly enough due to their age.
With files from Nick Westoll and The Canadian Press
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