Off-campus housing fire hazard?
By Marshall Bellamy
GAZETTE’S PIPES: THEY’RE EVEN OLDER THAN
OUR COMPUTERS. Many Western students have been horrified
by a sight similar to this one.
While on-campus residences are safe from fire-wielding aliens
who want nothing more than to burn down residences and devour
roasted student meat, off-campus student housing could be having
a roast served up with student steak, especially considering
there is no law for fire inspections in London to protect the
fair students of Western from vicious dragon attacks.
“There’s no law in the city of London requiring
frequent fire inspections,” said John Kaiser, a concerned
Londoner who survived a fire several years ago while living
According to Kaiser, there are thousands of students who live
off campus in houses and apartments that have not been inspected
for years. “The fire marshal has told me there are buildings
that have not been inspected since 1988.”
Robert Pertschy, fire prevention inspector with the London
Fire Department, confirmed Kaiser’s allegations, pointing
to the lack of manpower in London to inspect every residence
in the city. “Fire inspections are requested or [are
based on] complaints or sometimes even [conducted] on a sporadic
basis,” he said.
Pertschy pointed out that buildings over three stories high
are subject to frequent fire safety inspection and houses are
required to have at least one working smoke detector. Under
most circumstances, individuals are responsible for making
their own house fire safe, he said, adding all students need
is a smoke detector, which is relatively inexpensive.
One issue Pertschy said poses a threat to fire safety in off-campus
student housing is students who smoke in their bedrooms and
keep their doors closed, meaning a smoke detector would be
needed in every bedroom in student houses.
“We have some [complaints]. More often than not I’ll
get a maintenance issue relayed to me,” said Glenn Matthews,
the off-campus housing liaison officer at Western, adding potential
complaints concerning fire safety are usually sent to the city
fire inspection office.
According to Matthews, awareness is crucial in maintaining
fire safety in off-campus student housing, adding initiatives
such as newsletters and other methods to keep the lines of
communication open between administration, students and landlords,
have been instrumental in offering some degree of fire safety
—with files from Dan Perry