Peterborough landlords jailed, fined for fire code violations

Two landlords in Peterborough have been found guilty of fire code violations.
Two landlords in Peterborough have been found guilty of fire code violations. Peterborough Fire Services

One Peterborough landlord has been sentenced to jail for seven days and another fined $15,000 for separate incidents of fire code violations.

The landlords pleaded guilty to the offences in provincial court in Peterborough on May 3, according to a release from Peterborough Fire Services.

In one incident, Sean Paul Cowling, a landlord of a King Street property, pleaded guilty to “failing to ensure that each floor area be served by at least two exits.”

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According to Cathy Robertson, chief fire prevention officer,  the Service made “numerous attempts” to work with Cowling to resolve the matter.

In September 2016, Peterborough Fire Services conducted a fire safety inspection at the property which led to a $10,000 conviction a year later for failing to comply with inspection orders.

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Robertson says a subsequent inspection was launched later in September 2017 after officials received a fire safety complaint about the same five-bedroom house, which was being occupied by 15 students.

“A subsequent fire safety inspection found that none of the previously identified Fire Code issues had been addressed by the owner,” Robertson said.

Cowling will spend a week in jail and received two years probation.

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In another case, Si Hwa Lio was fined $15,000 after he was found guilty of failing to comply with an inspection order in relation to his rooming house on Rubidge Street and a commercial property on George Street North.

Peterborough Fire Services first investigated the properties in March 2016 following safety complaints at both sites.

Robertson said both locations had “numerous” fire safety concerns. A subsequent inspection found that no work had been done to correct the violations.

Liou was fined $10,000 in relation to the Rubidge Street property and $5,000 for the George Street property, of which Liou is the administrator of the company that owns the site, 1695213 Ontario.

“Peterborough Fire Services works with property owners when seeking compliance with the Ontario Fire Code,” Robertson stated.

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“Most property owners comply with inspection orders; however, sometimes we need to seek compliance through the court system. We want to ensure all residents of our city are safe from fire. A jail sentence by the court in relation to Fire Code violations is unusual and reflects the repeated failure to comply with the safety regulations.”

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