Last month, at least one person died in an apartment fire in Saskatoon where it appears the occupants had tampered with their smoke alarm.
Tampering with smoke alarms is becoming a trend in Saskatoon, according to the Saskatoon Fire Department.
The fire in Pleasant Hill was caused by improper disposal of smoking material.
Based on the building’s fire inspections, it appears the people living there tampered with their smoke alarm after the unit was checked in September. The fire happened about a month later.
The Saskatoon Fire Department says it’s getting more calls for homes without working smoke alarms.
“Especially with the use and legalization of marijuana it seems like it’s being used more readily being utilized in the person’s home and it’s setting off smoke alarms,” said assistant chief Yvonne Raymer.
Raymer said people are tampering with their alarms or taking them down to avoid setting them off.
“A lot of individuals are forgetting to put them back or they’re putting bags on them,” she said.
Since the fatal fire, the department has identified 10 other properties in the city missing 13 smoke alarms.
“We had another fire where it was a near miss, we’ll call it,” she said.
“The individual was sleeping but a family member actually managed to wake the individual up but the smoke alarms were missing in that household as well.”
Tampering with a smoke alarm, or carbon monoxide alarm, is a criminal offence and can incur a $25,000 fine.
“If you don’t hear the beep when you sleep because you have a fire, more than likely you won’t make it out alive,” Raymer said.
She added that if people insist on smoking inside, they should turn on some fans or go to a different room. You can also buy electric smoke detectors that are less sensitive to things like cigarette smoke.