Photo of recent trailer fire in the County of Brant.
Occupants escaped safely due to a working smoke alarm.
Inhalation of smoke blamed in 3 deaths - Windsor Star
(from The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs website)
(Jul 04, 2008)
Smoke inhalation killed two little Leamington girls and their dad when the trailer they were camping in exploded into flames early Monday, according to Essex police.
But it could be weeks before a cause is determined for the fire at Epping Forest Trailer Park on County Road 50 East in Essex.
"We don't have a cause yet because we are still looking at some of the potential ignition sources. We've taken some of the exhibits for further analysis," said lead investigator Tom Hutton with the Ontario Fire Marshal's office.
"I can't really nail down a timeline because we're still working on it right now. We have to examine those exhibits and see whether they contributed or they didn't."
Autopsies on the three victims were conducted Wednesday in London. Police said the medical examiner and the coroner also identified the remains of two victims, Cesario Dan Silva Leal, 34, and his 11-year-old daughter Raquel Ines Graca from Leamington. They still haven't positively identified the third victim. But family friend Paolo Fernandes confirmed it was Leal's five-year-old daughter Carolina.
Police said the cause of the fire was still under investigation, but added they don't suspect foul play.
Fernandes said a funeral for Leal and his girls will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at Reid Funeral Home in Leamington.
Hutton said the flames likely spread through the interior of the trailer quickly. "A trailer of that size, with the confined space -- it's not going to take the fire very long to spread," he said.
"There's woods, there's plastics. You have upholstered furniture in there, in the way of a foam mattress."
The first people at the scene of the fire were other park residents, who attempted to put out the flames with garden hoses. They also tried to cool the trailer's propane tank.
Hutton said the chances of an explosion were minimal, since most propane tanks have a safety valve that releases the contents when there is a danger of explosion.
Hutton said no propane release occurred with the trailer in question.
Asked when he estimates he will complete his report on the incident, Hutton replied: "It's probably going to be a couple of months."
Meanwhile, the Ontario Fire Marshal's office is stressing that trailers and RVs are not exempt from the provincial fire code that makes smoke detectors a mandatory safety measure.
"If your trailer functions as a home, as a dwelling unit, then you are required to have a working smoke alarm," said Al Suleman, a fire protection engineer with the OFM.
"That includes seasonal homes such as park model trailers, cabins, cottages, and for the most part it includes motor homes and recreational vehicles when they are used as dwelling units."
Essex fire chief Ed Pillon said there was no sign of a working smoke detector in the trailer in question, and the presence of one might have prevented the tragedy.
Don't let careless and unsafe barbecuing practices ruin your summer fun. Increase your summer enjoyment by following the safety tips below.
Technical Standards and Safety Authority: SPRING INTO SAFETY: GET YOUR BBQ IN CHECK
- Propane was the fuel source used in 95 per cent of Barbeque related incidents. Wear-failure and breaks or leaks were the most common causes of these fires.
- Propane and natural gas are safe and convenient fuels for barbeques when they are used properly. However, a fire or explosion can occur if a gas leaks into an enclosed, unventilated area. The spark that ignites the explosion may come from the operation of a wall switch, cell phone, telephone, or two-way radio.
- Solid fuels such as wood, chemical blocks or charcoal are alternative fuel sources for barbecues. These fuels take a while to heat up and ignite and leave hot, burnt coals that require careful disposal. Never add accelerants (such as gasoline) to speed up a slow burning barbeque. Allow the coals to cool before disposal.
- Carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas) can build up when a barbecue is used in an enclosed area with limited ventilation, leading to possible illness or death.
- Purchase only barbecues that bear the CSA, ITS or ULC label.
- Cleaning, maintenance and regular safety inspections must be part of your summer barbecuing routine.
- Follow manufacturer's instructions or use a trained professional for repairs and inspections.
- Use barbecues away from your home, car, dry vegetation, deck rails, wood balconies, twigs, tablecloths, and paper cups and plates.
- Trim tree limbs near the barbeque area to prevent the spread of fire from flare-ups of fuel or grease.
- Use long handled barbecue tongs and brushes to keep distance between you and the heat of the barbecue.
- Keep children away from the barbecue.
- Always have a fire extinguisher, baking soda and water available to put out a fire.
- Wear fitted clothing near a barbecue as flames can ignite loose clothing. Use a heavy apron and an oven mitt that fits high up over your forearm.
- Don't cook indoors with a barbecue (garages, sheds, etc.). Use barbecues in a ventilated outdoor area.
- When finished, be sure the gas is turned off and the flames are out. Close the lid to prevent re-ignition.
- If you are burned, run cool water over the burn for 10 to 15 minutes. DO NOT use butter or salve on burns - these products seal in heat and can cause further damage to the tissue. If you receive a serious burn, with charred skin, seek medical attention immediately.
- Locate barbecues in cool outdoor areas.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions when fitting the gas cylinder to the barbecue.
- If your barbecue connection area has an "O" ring, check it every time you connect the cylinder. Replace missing, cracked or damaged "O" rings.
- After connecting the gas supply hose to the barbecue, open the propane cylinder or natural gas supply valve. Check for gas leaks by applying a soapy solution over the connections and hose. Soap bubbles will form if there is a leak. If a leak or fire occurs, turn off gas supply valve immediately.
- To prevent excessive gas build-up, always light the barbecue as soon as the gas flow is turned on. If using a match to light the barbeque, always light the match before turning on the gas. If the barbecue is equipped with an electronic igniter, follow directions on the control panel. If the barbecue doesn't light or goes out, turn off the valves, leave the lid open, wait five minutes, then try again.
- Never light a gas barbeque with the lid down. Gas trapped inside can easily ignite and cause the unit to explode.
- Always ensure that the cylinder valves are either fully open or fully closed.
- Prevent grease from dripping onto the hoses or cylinder, as grease build-up could be a potential fire hazard.
- Ensure all valves are turned off when barbecue is not in use.
Natural Gas BBQ
- Check the flames on your natural gas barbecue regularly - they should be mostly blue with yellow tips. If the flame is mostly yellow, stop using the barbeque and contact a qualified gasfitter.
- Propane cylinders MUST be retested every 10 years. Re-certification of the tank can be arranged through most propane filling stations.
- Never store extra propane cylinders under your barbecue or inside any structure. Excess heat may overpressure the cylinder and cause it to release propane from the cylinder relief valve.
- When transporting a propane cylinder, secure it in an upright position with a safety plug (POL plug) in place and keep the transport area well ventilated to prevent propane gas build up. A POL plug will prevent gas leakage when the valve is accidentally turned on, and is available through your local dealer.
Solid Fuel BBQ
- Use recommended solid fuel fire starters only - accelerants such as gasoline can flash-back and explode. Electric fire starters are also available
- Store the remaining fire starter fluid in a safe place away from the grill.
- Do not add fire starter fluid to the fire after it has started. A vapour trail leading to the container can cause explosion and injury.
- Be sure fire starter fluids are not accessible to children, as they are poisonous when swallowed. Special childproof caps are available at your local dealer.
- Before disposing of the ashes, ensure they are thoroughly extinguished. Live coals or hot embers can start a fire. Be extremely cautious!
Practise your home fire escape plan with loved ones on
TORONTO (February 14, 2008) - The
Ontario Fire Marshal is urging all Ontarians to spend a few minutes this Family
Day on a lifesaving activity that could protect the entire family from fire.
"Sit down with everyone in your household and discuss how to get out of the home
in the event of a fire," said Patrick Burke, Fire Marshal for Ontario. "Consider
drawing a floor plan of your home, identifying all escape routes from each
Simple steps for home fire escape planning include:
- Install working smoke alarms on every storey of the home and
outside all sleeping areas - It's the law! - Make sure everyone in
the home knows the sound of the smoke alarm.
- Assess the needs of everyone in the home - Identify
anyone who requires assistance to get out of the home safely, such as small
children or older adults.
- Identify all possible exits ( doors and windows ) and make sure
they work - know two ways out of all areas, if possible.
- Everyone must know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds
- Assign someone to help those who need assistance, identify a safe meeting
place outside and call the fire department from a neighbour's home or cell
- Get low and go - Everyone must know that if they are
caught in smoke, they should get low and go under the smoke to the nearest
You may have only seconds to safely escape your home. Practise your home fire
escape plan and make sure everyone can get out quickly.
Wood Stove Safety
Every year, in the County of Brant homes are damaged or destroyed by misuse of wood heating appliances . Enjoy the benefits of your wood fire in comfort just by taking a few simple precautions. Otherwise, in the blink of an eye, those warm friendly flames in your fireplace or wood stove could turn into a devastating fire. You can easily prevent dangerous situations such as chimney fires by taking the proper safety measures.
To use them safely:
- Be sure the stove or fireplace is installed properly. Woodstoves should have adequate clearance (1 Metre) from combustible surfaces, and proper floor support and protection.
- Burn only wood (dry, well seasoned hardwood)
- Woodstoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be ULC listed.
- Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
- Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.
- The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
- Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
- Keep flammable materials away from your mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.
- Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
- If synthetic logs are use, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher amounts of carbon monoxide.
- Do not burn newspaper, wrapping paper, or dried greenery.
- NEVER use flammable liquids for any reason in a fireplace.
- Keep anything that can burn at least 1 metre away from fireplace.
The following link is to a Ministry of Natural Rescorces website which has information and safety tips.
Home heating tips
A Guide to Residential Wood Heating
New Law Changes Smoke Alarm Requirements
Some of the most law-abiding people are unknowingly breaking the law every day. Not for robbery, or speeding, or assault. But simply because they don't have working smoke alarms in their homes. A recent amendment to the Ontario Fire Code now requires homes to have working smoke alarms on every level. This is in addition to the existing requirement of having smoke alarms outside all sleeping areas. The amendment, coming into effect on March 1st, 2006 applies to all single-family, semi-detached and town homes, whether owner-occupied or rented.
For homeowners, that may mean purchasing additional smoke alarms and installing them on every storey of their home and outside all sleeping areas. Landlords must make sure their rental properties comply with the law. Tenants of rental properties are encouraged to contact their landlords immediately if they do not have the required number of smoke alarms. Once smoke alarms are installed, tenants cannot remove the batteries or tamper with the alarm in any way.
"A smoke alarm can provide your family with a warning, giving you time to escape during a fire," stated Geoff Hayman, Chief Fire Prevention Officer with the County of Brant Fire Department. "It is crucial to have working smoke alarms on every storey to give the occupants of a home the precious seconds they need to escape".
Statistics from the Office of the Fire Marshal indicate that in about fifty per cent of fatal home fires that occurred in Ontario, the victims had no smoke alarm warning. For homeowners, tenants and individual landlords, non-compliance with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements can result in a ticket for $235 or a fine of up to $50,000. "We will be adopting a zero-tolerance approach with landlords who fail to meet their obligations with respect to providing and maintaining smoke alarms in their rental units," says Hayman. "The Fire Department may choose to defer charges for landlords who can demonstrate through good record keeping practices that they have been diligent in meeting their obligations." At the recommendation of the Ontario Fire Marshal, the County of Brant is allowing a grace period up until the end of May for compliance with the new requirements of having smoke alarms on every storey, but not for the existing requirement of having smoke alarms outside all sleeping areas which has been in effect since July 25th, 1998.
For further information regarding smoke alarm changes, please contact the County of Brant Fire Department Administration at 1-866-847-5416 or 442-4500.
The Office of the Fire Marshal (Ontario)
Ontario Fire Service Messenger
Smoke Alarm Fact sheet
NFPA Smoke Alarm Safety Tips
2013 Easter Food Drive at No Frills
2013 Seniors Wellness Day
2012 Airport Station #2 Gift Wrapping
2012 Airport Station #2 Zumba Night
2012 Burford Fair Booth
2012 Dominos Night
2012 Paris Open House
2012 Scotland Open House
2012 Mt. Pleasant Station Pancake Breakfast
2012 Fire Extinguisher Training at HGC
2012 St. Theresa's Meet The Teacher
2012 Childrens Safety Village Street Festival
2012 Five Oaks Centre Day Camp
2012 Five Oaks Centre Fire Extinguisher Training
2012 Mt Pleasant Fun Fair
2012 Oakland Scotland School Wolfest
2012 Tim Horton Camp Fire Extinguisher Training Day
2012 Tim Hortons Camp Day
2012 Carbon Monoxide Awareness Day
2012 M+M Meats Charity BBQ
Mt. Pleasant Station #5 - Pancake Breakfast 2012
Domino's Pizza Night 2011
2011 Fire Prevention Week
2011 Telfer Place Service Provider Day
Tim Horton's Camp Day 2011
Canadian Tire Days Spring 2011
Smart Risk No Regrets Live 2011
Sobey's Fill a Fire Truck for Easter 2011
2010 County Fire vs. City Fire
So You Think You Can Wrap Contest
Christmas 2010 Sobeys Fire Truck Food Drive
Children's Safety Village Halloween Party 2010
2010 Fire Prevention Week
2010 Onondaga Fire Prevention Newsletter
2010 Brant Recreation - Day Camp
2010 Brant County Power - Family Day
2010 St. George Firefighter's Breakfast
Sobey's Family Fun Day 2010
Sobey's Fill a Truck Food Bank 2010
Paris Central School Grade One Talk
Children's Safety Village January 2010
Olympic Torch Relay Event 22-Dec-2009
Fire Prevention Week 2009
Meadowood Church Fun Day 2009