November 9, 2017 11:23 am
Updated: November 9, 2017 8:32 pm

Owner and operator plead guilty in 2015 fatal rooming house fire

Thu, Nov 9: Both the owner and operator of the Scarborough rooming house have pleaded guilty to Ontario fire code violations in connection to the fatal 2015 fire. As Catherine McDonald reports, Toronto fire officials say the problem of unlicensed rooming houses is systemic in our city and are trying to shut them down because they are threatening lives.


Both the owner and operator of a Scarborough rooming house have pleaded guilty to Ontario Fire Code violations stemming from a fire on Dec. 29, 2015, that took the life of one tenant.

Jagdamba Joshi and Andre Durant were charged after an investigation found the unlicensed rooming house did not have a fire alarm system or sufficient fire extinguishers, exits and signage.

READ MORE: 1 dead, 3 others injured after house fire in Scarborough

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The fire started in the basement around 6:30 a.m. at 117 Birkdale Rd. near Midland and Ellesmere. Crews on scene found heavy smoke and flames coming from the front of the house.

Four occupants were taken to hospital, where one succumbed to their injuries. Two others were treated on scene for smoke inhalation.

Joshi has been fined $36,000 plus court costs. Durant received a two-year probation order.

“This terrible fire is a grim reminder that violations of the Fire Code can pose serious risks and result in tragic consequences,” Jim Jessop, Deputy Fire Chief. said in a statement.

“Toronto Fire Services is committed to ensuring appropriate measures are taken by property owners to achieve both compliance and fire safety.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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