Office of the Fire Marshal Release Scene of Fatal Fire in Ottawa

News Release
April 8, 2005

Attention Editors/News Directors

Office of the Fire Marshal Release Scene of Fatal Fire in Ottawa TORONTO, ON, Friday, April 8, 2005 - Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) Fire Investigators have completed the on-site investigation at the fatal fire that occurred at 816 Somerset Street in Ottawa on April 5, 2005.

The post mortem examination results indicate that all 5 victims died from smoke inhalation. There is no indication of any criminal activity at this time.

The fire investigation is focusing on the attic space above the kitchen. The Electrical Safety Authority is continuing to look at the electrical aspects of this investigation in conjunction with the OFM.

It has been confirmed that there were no smoke alarms found in the residence.

"It is very disturbing to learn, especially in fatal fires, that smoke alarms were not present or operable in the home," said Ontario Fire Marshal Bernard Moyle. "I am insisting that everyone take the time to install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside all sleeping areas."

It is a fact that almost 50% of all fire fatalities occur in homes without smoke alarms or where the battery has been removed.

"I cannot stress enough that every home should have more than one smoke alarm," said Fire Marshal Moyle. "Everyone must take responsibility for the safety of their families by being prepared with a home escape plan and knowing what to do when the alarms sounds in order to safely escape."
The OFM has also confirmed that the cause of another fire that occurred the same night at 878 Somerset Street was an electrical failure between the first and second floors. In this fire, the occupants were fortunate to escape, as there were no smoke alarms. This once again reinforces the need to have working smoke alarms on every level of the home.

OFM investigators were greatly assisted by the Ottawa Fire Services in the preservation of evidence, which facilitated both scene examinations. The OFM continues to work with Ottawa Fire and Police Services in both fire investigations.

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For more information, contact:
Bev Gilbert, Office of the Fire Marshal, 416-325-3178
(submitted by Tony Moscioni)