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Kingston apartment building orders residents to remove Christmas decorations due to fire safety

Residents of a Kingston apartment building are up in arms after receiving a notice saying their decorations are against fire safety regulations.

Residents living in a seniors apartment building in Kingston, Ont., received a notice on Dec. 4 saying that all tenants must remove Christmas decorations on the outside of their apartments.

One such resident is Randy Neff, who has lived in the building for 12 years and says he has hung a wreath on the outside of his door each year. The recent notice has left Neff and his neighbours unhappy.

“They are taking our Christmas wreaths off our doors and our Santa Claus, Rudolph and elves decorations and throwing them in the garbage,” said Neff.

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In the notice, Town Homes Kingston, which was taken over by the City of Kingston this summer due to financial troubles, says it is continuing to put measures in place to remain compliant with fire safety regulations.

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“When the new maintenance company did their assessment of the property, they had questions regarding the trees and other decorative materials located in the public corridors and lobbies in this building,” the City of Kingston wrote in an email.

The City of Kingston says it has been advised by Kingston Fire and Rescue not to permit trees and other decorative materials to be located in public corridors and lobbies.

READ MORE: Victoria city councillor wants less decking the halls with boughs of holly

A Christmas tree that was placed in an empty fountain in the front lobby was also removed, as Town Homes Kingston deemed the decoration against its fire safety regulations.

“They [Town Homes Kingston] said that [the Christmas tree] needed to go in case of a fire, but I’m pretty sure this two-foot-tall solid cement wall would be in the way just as much a Christmas tree standing in here would be,” said Neff while showing Global News the fountain, which is filled with vases and other items.

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Gary Oosterhof, city councillor for the area, told Global News that the residents of the building have come to him with concerns that this decision is making their apartment feel less like home and that they are willing to compromise on the contents of the notice.

Oosterhof says he is working with Kingston Fire and Rescue and Town Homes Kingston to find a solution.

According to Town Homes Kingston, there was no specific incident that led to the notice, however decorations that were on the outside of residents’ units after Dec. 13 were removed and disposed of by the company’s maintenance team.

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