Install Working Smoke Alarms: It’s The Law!

Install Working Smoke Alarms: It’s The Law!
Smoke alarms provide precious seconds to escape a fire

August 16, 2011

The Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) can now confirm that three separate, tragic fires since last Friday have claimed the lives of four adults and three small children in Ontario. Another adult remains in hospital with fire-related injuries. The absence of working smoke alarms and home fire escape plans are common factors in all three fatal fires.

A fire on August 12 on Bastedo Ave., in Toronto is believed to have been the result of unattended cooking. OFM investigators have determined that there were no working smoke alarms in the three-storey house. Two adults perished in the fire.

Another fire on that same day, at East Boundary Rd. in Alexandria, claimed the lives of a woman and her three children. OFM investigators have determined the fire originated on the exterior porch at the front of the home, blocking the only exit from the home. Investigators also have determined that while there was a working smoke alarm on the main storey of the home, there was no battery in the smoke alarm outside the sleeping areas on the second storey. This household had three small children and highlights the importance of having a home fire escape plan.

A third fire on August 13, at Ascot Lane in Huntsville, claimed the life of an adult. While OFM investigators have not yet determined the cause of this fire, there were no working smoke alarms in the one-storey cottage.

The OFM continues to work closely with Toronto Fire Services, Toronto Police Service, North Glengarry Fire Department, Technical Standards and Safety Authority, the Town of Huntsville Fire Department and the Ontario Provincial Police on these investigations.

Quick Facts

To ensure everyone is safe from fire, the Office of the Fire Marshal is urging residents to:

  • Test smoke alarms to make sure they are working;
  • Install battery-operated smoke alarms, or electrically-connected alarms with a battery back-up; and,
  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan to ensure everyone knows what to do if a fire occurs.

It’s the law in Ontario to have working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. Failure to comply with the law can result in a ticket of $235 or a fine of up to $50,000 for individuals or $100,000 for corporations.


“The tragic incidents from the past weekend could have been prevented. It’s the law to have working smoke alarms. I strongly urge everyone to take a few minutes to test their smoke alarms and practice their home fire escape plans. You are responsible for your children and everyone else in your home and, for ensuring everyone knows what to do if a fire occurs.”
- Ted Wieclawek, Ontario Fire Marshal


  • Carol Gravelle, Office of the Fire Marshal, 416-325-3138
  • Janice Johnstone, Office of the Fire Marshal, 416-325-3151