Volume 95, Issue 43

Friday, November 16, 2001
Search the Archives:
Tips for searching

Campus and Culture
Submit Letter
Contact Us
About the Gazette


Profs slam television war

Western students must consider fire safety

Run for your lives: the sky is falling!

Taliban predicts 'destruction'

Study: Canadian chicks dig university

News Briefs

Tuition not scaring the kiddies

University buildings crumbling

Smoker of the Week

Western students must consider fire safety

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

The death of an eight-year-old London girl in a house fire this week has sparked safety concerns across the city.

According to published reports, the house that burned down had smoke alarms, but the batteries had been removed.

In light of the incident, local fire officials are asking residents to evaluate their own preparedness for fire and fire-related incidents.

Cathy Miller, owner of Absolute Fire Protection of London, said students should take time to check whether they have working smoke detectors.

"Fires in student housing is definitely a problem; equipment is not taken seriously. Kids play with fire extinguishers all the time," she said.

Miller noted it is usually up to homeowners or landlords to put smoke detectors in houses. However, the person holding the insurance for the house is ultimately liable for the property.

Dave Morden of London's fire prevention office said, in Ontario, it is required by law to have smoke detectors and alarms in all residences, whether they be battery-powered or hard-wired.

If students find themselves in a situation where their landlord refuses to purchase smoke detectors, they can call the fire prevention office to come and inspect the premises, Morden added. The officers can then force landlords to comply with the law.

"Landlords can be charged if they don't comply with regulations," he said. "[Students] shouldn't be afraid to call us up."

Glen Matthews, Western's housing mediation officer, said his office provides a second liaison for students who need help getting landlords to comply with fire regulations.

"Students need to weigh the costs and benefits of upsetting their landlord and fire safety. Calling me might lessen the burden," he said.

Bill Hall, a landlord with London Property Company, said his company has smoke detectors wired into every house they own and build. "Knock on wood – we just haven't had many fires in our houses," he said.

To Contact The News Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2001