Fire rescue leads to charges of disabling smoke detector
GRAVENHURST — A dramatic rescue of a man clinging to a fourth-floor window has led to charges of disabling a smoke alarm – but not against the man rescued.
Gravenhurst Fire Department officials say that their investigation into a fire that damaged the apartment last month has led to charges being laid against one of the tenants of the apartment where the fire started.
On May 16th, Gravenhurst firefighters responded to a fire on the fourth floor of the apartment building at 165 Old Muskoka Road. When they arrived, firefighters found a man dangling from a window.
Firefighters managed to rescue him by ladder and quickly extinguished the fire, which caused an estimated $25,000 in damage.
They say their subsequent investigation revealed that the fire started in an adjoining bedroom within the same apartment unit, but firefighters found that the smoke alarm within that unit had been disabled.
“We have a situation where we found the smoke detector to be disabled, and a fire that occurred very nearly took the life of an individual within that dwelling unit and certainly threatened the other tenants within that same building. If the smoke detector was knowingly disabled, this is a very serious offence,” said fire Chief Larry Brassard.
“It’s more good luck than anything else that the individual who was rescued from this fire woke up in the first place,” he added.
Fire officials believe that the sounds related to the fire in the room where the blaze occurred may have been loud enough to awaken the sleeping man just before 5 a.m.. “Whatever woke this individual, it was not the smoke alarm, and had this not occurred, we could have very easily experienced a fatal fire based on what our investigators saw in the apartment during the course of the investigation.”
A 32-year old Gravenhurst resident has been charged with intentionally disabling a smoke alarm and will appear in a Bracebridge court in August to answer to the charge. The incident has fire officials reminding residents that provincial legislation requires smoke alarms on all levels of residences and the law requires that these life-saving devices be properly maintained in working order.
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