TCH buildings have highest number of false fire alarms

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Last year Toronto firefighters responded to more than a dozen false alarms a day, most of them came from buildings operated by Toronto Community Housing (TCH).

In 2018, the Toronto Fire Service responded to just over 4,800 false alarm calls at residential buildings with more than 12 units. About 80 per cent of those calls — 3,897 — were to buildings operated by TCH, the figures show.

Toronto Fire Deputy Chief Jim Jessop said the situation has been improving city-wide, with false alarm calls dropping by 11 per cent in the last 12 years.

The residential building with the largest number of false fire alarms in the city last year was 251 Sherbourne St., a TCH building that racked up 79 of them.

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As of Jan. 1, 2019, TCH buildings also owed more to Toronto Fire in unpaid false alarm fines, than condos or apartment buildings.

The city charges property owners $1,396.25 for every false alarm firefighters have to respond to.

But if a building owner can show that the alarm wasn’t tripped on purpose and that steps have been taken to repair the glitch, that fee is often returned, Jessop said.

In 2018, false alarm fines amounted to almost $6.7 million, of which about $440,000 had not yet been paid by Jan. 1, 2019. TCH buildings owed just over $200,000 of that.

Condo boards still owed about $146,000, and apartment building owners about $81,000.

Unfortunately, there are folks out there who think it is funny to set off fire alarms. There needs to be a way to hold these people accountable by a better use of surveillance cameras and more monitoring. -CINEWS

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