Over 80 per cent of basement fires in Brampton over past 2 years in unregistered units

Click to play video: 'Majority of Brampton basement fires happening in unregistered units'
Majority of Brampton basement fires happening in unregistered units
WATCH: Majority of Brampton basement fires happening in unregistered units – Apr 13, 2022

The majority of fires in Brampton basements over the past three years have occurred in unregistered units, the City of Brampton says.

Data sent to Global News shows that, between January 2020 and April 2022, there were 27 fires in basements in Brampton, 22 of which burned in basement units that were not registered for habitation.

“The potential for greater loss, including loss of life, is more prevalent in homes where the City and Fire Department are not aware that there are multiple units, and therefore are not expecting to be entering into a situation where they may encounter multiple occupancies all over the house,” Brampton Coun. Jeff Bowman told Global News, commenting on the data.

He said it was “absolutely critical” for people to register second units if they construct them in their basements.

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There are 11,742 legally registered secondary units in Brampton, according to a document maintained by the city.

Click to play video: 'Brampton house fire leaves family of 5 dead'
Brampton house fire leaves family of 5 dead

In 2020, all nine basement fires in Brampton took place in unregistered units. That number increased to 11 of the 15 basement fires last year, while two of the three fires in Brampton basements so far in 2022 have been in unregistered units.

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Bowman said it was “almost impossible” to accurately predict how many unregistered second units there are across Brampton. He said the city’s current best estimate is between 10,000 and 20,000.

“The number of calls is steadily increasing,” he said. “This is a recipe for disaster, with some illegal units that we have seen housing 10, 15 or more individuals crammed into rooms in totally unsafe conditions.”

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The information on basement fires comes weeks after a Brampton house fire claimed the lives of six people, including three children in March.

The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal previously told Global News the scene of that fire, which took place in a house rather than a basement, had no working smoke alarms.

The Fire Marshal’s office said it can “confirm that no working smoke alarms were present in the home at the time of the fire.”

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