Canadian Firefighter Magazine

Monday, Monday . . .

Laura King   

Features Blogs Editor’s blog

March 15, 2010

It’s fitting that Ottawa Fire Chief John deHooge focuses on residential sprinklers in today’s interview with the Ottawa Citizen to mark his first 60 days on the job. (You can read the story here.)

Sadly, as the Citizen reports, here’s what the fire service is up against:

New homes do burn faster, John Herbert, executive-director
of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association, acknowledged Friday, “but I
would dispute the fact it’s a significant factor,” in deaths and injuries.

“In reality, the whole threat of deaths in woodframe
houses disappeared with the requirement for hard-wired smoke detectors in
homes,” he said, adding the cost of sprinkler system in a typical new Ottawa house would cost
$8,000 to $10,000.

Imagine Ontario Fire
Marshal Pat Burke’s face when he read that this morning. Like his counterparts
across the country, Burke has been pushing for residential sprinklers for years
and he wears his passion on his sleeve. No wonder. Last Friday –four days after
the death of a Toronto father and his 12-year-old daughter in a house fire – Toronto
Deputy Chief Frank Lamie publicly said what the rest of us had been sure was
the case, that a boiling pot of oil on the stove caught fire and the battery in
the smoke detector was dead. A friend of the family refuted Lamie’s statement at
the funeral on Saturday, claiming he had heard the smoke detector the go off
the day before while someone in the home was cooking. Two completely
preventable deaths. Any lessons learned?

Not a great way to start
the week.


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