Landlords charged with negligence in fatal Scarborough house fire
Two landlords have been charged in connection with a deadly house fire in Scarborough last May.
The fire claimed the life of an 18-year-old University of Toronto student, and seriously injured another tenant.
On May 30, firefighters were called to detached home located on Haida Court, near Morningside Avenue and Ellesmere Road. The body of 18-year-old Helen Guo was found on the upper floor of the home in a hallway.
Officials told Global News there were no operational smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors. There were also no portable fire extinguishers inside.
Weisong Zhou, 47, and Yu Jing, 45, have each been charged with nine counts of arson by negligence, criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. Both appeared in court late August.
Toronto Fire Services Deputy Chief Jim Jessop reiterated the department’s pledge to keep property owners and landlords accountable.
“You are responsible and you have a legal duty to comply,” he said on Monday.
“When we come across any cases where there is willful and wanton, and reckless disregard for fire safety, Toronto Fire Services has taken and will continue to take a zero tolerance policy with homeowners.”
Five other properties that were also being operated as rooming houses by the landlords of 10 Haida Court have also been investigated by Toronto Fire Services and the City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Division.
They continue to be monitored and reviewed.
WATCH: Toronto fire promoting safety tips for off-campus student housing. Matthew Bingley reports.
As students continue to re-adjust to classes, Jessop offered some advice when it comes to off-campus housing.
“Make sure that there are working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms,” he said.
“But one of the biggest red flags … with respect to non-compliant illegal rooming houses in the city, especially for the off-campus ones, is the lack of a second exit from either the basement or from the third floor.”
Zhou and Jing are due back in court on Oct. 10. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
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