Some things get published, others don’t

by

As usual, the kind of public posturing that I read about in the pages of the London Free Press contrasts sharply with my real-world experience.

According to today’s column “Missing devices cited in fire inquest” (LFP; 2002/10/18), an official with the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office is pointing a finger of blame at a tenant for the spread of fire which took the life of St. Thomas fire Capt. Dennis Redman.

That, despite the fact that door-closing devices on individual units “were not required by building or fire codes when the building was constructed.”

If fire officials are so ready to lay blame against others, are they equally prepared to hold themselves accountable?

For some time now, I have been attempting to have London’s fire officials enforce existing legislation with respect to fire doors in the apartment building where I reside. Despite the fact that there have been several serious fires here in recent years, their response has been that they are not prepared to act as “fire door police.”

In addition to the obvious hypocrisy, I fear that this is simply additional evidence of the reduction in essential services which has resulted from the questionable fiscal decisions of our City Council(s).

My letter which the Fire Chief wouldn’t respond to:

Mr Les Trowsdale, Advisory Services
Ministry of the Solicitor General, Office of the Fire Marshal
707 Exeter Road
London, Ontario
N6E 1L3June 8, 2002Dear Sir,

Given the excellent manner in which you previously assisted me, I am hopeful that you may be willing/able to do so again.

In your letter to me dated February 5, 2002 you explained that Fire Inspector Howard was instrumental in having storage items removed from a stairwell which were interfering with the closure of a fire door. That is true, insofar as the fire door closest to my living unit is concerned.

However, the fire door at the other end of the hallway is a different matter, and I am concerned that it poses an unnecessary safety risk to myself and the other building tenants.

Following my letter to you dated February 7, 2002 I spoke to Inspector Howard about my concern. He agreed with my assessment that an open fire door at one end of the hallway does negate a closed fire door at the other end.

My letter to Inspector Howard dated March 8, 2002 reflected that fact and requested that he act to ensure that both doors be kept closed.

When the situation failed to improve and in the absence of any response from Inspector Howard, I sent him a letter dated April 02, 2002. That letter resulted in a voice message from the Fire Prevention officer on April 05, 2002 requesting that I call.

When I did so, that officer communicated a sense of disdain, that my concern was an aggravation to him, and in fact actually said that the Fire Department was too busy to concern itself with such things and that “we cannot act as fire door police.”

Although the Fire Prevention Officer did suggest that I remove obstructions from the door whenever necessary, and I have followed that advice, the door continues to be propped open using wooden wedges, vacuum cleaners, etc. on an almost continuous basis by person or persons unknown.

Kindly confirm for me the function of fire doors, and the official position of the Fire Marshal’s office with respect to their presence and operation.

Kindly explain to me whether or not there is any existing legislation with respect to the presence and operation of fire doors. If there is, kindly explain whether or not I and other citizens deserve those laws to be enforced for the protection of our safety.

Should I be fortunate enough to discover the identity of persons responsible for forcing the fire door(s) open, is there a mechanism which I may follow to have charges laid against those individuals?

[unrelated question omitted]

Respectfully,

Mr. Greg Fowler.

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