Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Conviction results in substantial fine after fatal Toronto rooming-house fire

City of Toronto Media Relations has issued the following:

News Release:  August 26, 2015

Conviction results in substantial fine after fatal Toronto rooming-house fire

A Provincial Offences Court has announced a conviction and levied a fine of $60,000 plus a $15,000 victim surcharge against the owner of an illegal rooming house at 189 Sheridan Ave., Toronto, in which a tenant died in a fire. The owner, Konstantin Lysenko, entered into a period of probation for 18 months with the standard conditions and an additional condition that he not possess or manage any rental property for the 18-month probation period.

The property at 189 Sheridan Ave. was a three-storey, wood-frame detached dwelling that had been converted into an unregistered, illegal rooming house. The building was three storeys above grade and one storey below grade, with a brick exterior. It had approximately seven rooms, three kitchens and three bathrooms.

On November 20, 2013, there was a fire in the basement of 189 Sheridan Ave. A 23-year-old woman in the basement apartment was unable to escape at the time of the fire. She was trapped in her apartment and succumbed to her injuries.

The City's Fire Prevention Officer later observed several fire code violations, noting that the smoke alarms were not maintained in operating condition by the owner and were broken. Batteries from the second and third floor alarms did not work when tested and on the first floor, there was a smoke-alarm base only in the kitchen. Smoke alarms are one of the most important safety devices for the home and early notification of fire saves lives.

In addition, the third floor lacked a second exit. Legislation requires that each floor should have at least two exits.

"The August 12 court decision highlights the importance for all owners and landlords to understand the requirements under the Ontario Fire Code, and to realize that non-compliance will result in legal action," said James Stoops, Toronto Fire Services Divisional Chief.

Janet Lamers Moore, mother of the fire's victim Alisha Lamers, commented, "We have been waiting 21 months to hear the outcome. Hearing this will be very healing for me. It was so important to us to have the landlord held responsible for his part. Thank you again to your staff and to the three firefighters who carried Alisha out." 

Toronto Fire Services reminds landlords and tenants that they can contact Fire Prevention to request an inspection by calling 416-338-9107. Non-compliance with the Ontario Fire Code will result in legal action.

This news release is also available on the City's website:

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

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Media contact: Gaston Maurice, Toronto Fire Services, 416-338-9398,

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