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City urged to act on wooden structures

Property owner joins call for better legislation after June fires caused $6 million in damage, displaced residents

A local property owner has joined the city and Oshawa firefighters in calling on the province to review its fire safety legislation for wooden structures. (Photo by Colin Williamson)

By Dave Flaherty/’The Oshawa Express

huge fire that caused $6 million in damage and displaced numerous residents clearly remains in the mind of the community.

On June 9, the fire broke out at a four-storey wood structure that was under construction at 143 Bloor Street West, between Simcoe Street South and Park Road South.

The fire caused damage to nearby buildings and vehicles. Local residents were also evacuated by police.

Durham police continue to investigate the blaze but have yet to charge anyone.

Shortly after, city council approved a motion petitioning the province to review its guidelines for fire safety during construction of five and six-storey wood structures.

Oshawa also requests Ontario make these rules mandatory for all wood buildings with more than four storeys.

The Oshawa Professional Fire Fighters Association (OPFFA) supported this resolution, and joined in the call to the province.

At the latest development services committee meeting, concerns were raised again – this time from the public.

Rosanne Parete of D’Angleo Homes, which owns the building next to the site of the fire, told councillors the fire was so hot it set off the alarms in their building.

However, a number of tenants slept through the noise, and the superintendent had to go door to door to warn them.

Parete said had the wind been blowing stronger the fire would have been much worse.

“What would [have happened] if people were living at 143 Bloor Street?” she asked.

She called on the city to pull its support for the project as is.

“It was so destructive. I can’t see that property going up the way it is,” she added.

In the end, Parete says the city was lucky to avoid disaster.

“Imagine if that wind was pushing north. All the houses would have caught on fire, how many trucks would you have needed,” she said.

Mayor Dan Carter noted the resolution from the city passed in June, and said he will continue to push the province.

“We’re the first municipality, that I know of, that brought this resolution forward,” Carter noted.

The city has yet to received formal response from the provincial government.