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City wants clarity on construction site fire safety

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

In light of a recent fire on Bloor Street, the city has called on the province to review its fire safety regulations.

On June 9, firefighters were called to a blaze at an apartment building under construction at 143 Bloor Street West, between Simcoe Street South and Park Road South.

Although there were no injuries, Oshawa Fire Service estimated the damage of the fire, and a smaller one nearby, at approximately $6 million.

The fire is suspected to be arson by the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal, and Durham Regional Police continue to investigate.

Security camera footage of a suspect was recently released by police.

In the wake of the fire, city council passed a motion asking the province to review its guidelines for fire safety during construction of five and six-storey wood buildings, and make such guidelines mandatory for all wood buildings with more than four storeys.

Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson asked if the city could require developers to have 24-hour security at worksites.

However, commissioner of development Warren Munro doesn’t believe the city can do that, much to Nicholson’s displeasure.

“If we had 24 hour security at 143 Bloor Street West, I don’t believe we would have had the giant bonfire we did, and resulting displacement of hundreds of residents…,” Nicholson said.

To Nicholson, it was fortunate there was a “light wind” the evening of the fire, or it may have been much worse.

The incident has left some area residents “terrified,” and some have yet to be able to return to their homes, he added.