4 years of fire safety issues lead to eviction at Charlottetown apartment

·2 min read
A removal order was carried out for the tenants renting out the attic unit at a small apartment at noon on Friday.
A removal order was carried out for the tenants renting out the attic unit at a small apartment at noon on Friday.

(David Donnelly/CBC - image credit)

The city of Charlottetown removed tenants from a residence on Richmond Street on Friday.

The tenants were living in the third-floor attic of the building.

According to a written release, the city went to court to get the removal order.

City fire inspector Kent Mitchell said concerns about fire safety at the building were first brought to the city's attention in 2016.

"The fire department worked closely with the occupants and the owners to establish the extent of potential violations. A hazard compliance order was issued due to extensive fire code violations throughout the building," he said, in the written statement.

"In particular, the third-floor attic space, which was converted into an apartment, was deemed a hazardous area due to the inability of occupants to safely evacuate in the event of a fire."

FIle photo of Charlottetown fire inspector Kent Mitchell at an unrelated location. Mitchell says public safety is the fire department's primary concern.
FIle photo of Charlottetown fire inspector Kent Mitchell at an unrelated location. Mitchell says public safety is the fire department's primary concern.

FIle photo of Charlottetown fire inspector Kent Mitchell at an unrelated location. Mitchell says public safety is the fire department's primary concern.

Between 2016 and 2019, several hazard compliance orders and a summary offence ticket were issued, Mitchell said.

"This culminated in a removal order for the third-floor apartment, which was issued to the owner on the Nov. 27, 2020 with a deadline of Dec. 11, 2020."

Mitchell said a followup inspection was done because of non-compliance with the initial removal order and another summary offence ticket was issued on Dec. 31.

We exhibited extreme patience and sensitivity when working with the residents and owners, and we did our best to be as co-operative as possible. — Kent Mitchell

The city alleged in court documents that the third-floor tenant refused to leave. The city also said the building owner changed in January 2021. The new owners posted an eviction notice for the tenants on Jan. 19.

"The tenants and owners were made aware of the application for a court ordered removal and had the opportunity to represent themselves in court. They chose not to do so," Mitchell said.

The case was heard in provincial court on Feb. 16 and Judge Jeff Lantz signed off on the order on the same day.

'Extremely unsafe'

"We exhibited extreme patience and sensitivity when working with the residents and owners, and we did our best to be as co-operative as possible," Mitchell said.

He added the city gives building owners plenty of notice to correct fire safety code violations, and said "this situation is no different. However, when notices and orders are not complied with, it is incumbent upon us to act. If not, city residents are living in extremely unsafe situations, and it is the safety of city residents that remains the fire department's primary concern."

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