Fire in illegal suite nets fines

Owners of an illegal secondary suite pleaded guilty to charges under the Safety Code Act following an April fire that put their tenants’ lives at risk.

Owners of an illegal secondary suite pleaded guilty to charges under the Safety Code Act following an April fire that put their tenants’ lives at risk.

Todd Davis and Corinne Dinnin-Davis recently entered a guilty plea with a settlement in court for a fine of $3,900 each.

On April 20, the main floor tenants of a Red Deer home were out when a fire broke out. They had forgotten to turn off the stove where food was cooking, which put the mother and her children who were living in the illegal basement suite at risk.

The downstairs tenants were unaware of the fire on the main floor because there were no interconnected working smoke alarms.

Neighbors alerted 911 when they noticed smoke coming from the kitchen window.

The maximum fine under the Safety Codes Act for an illegal secondary suite is $100,000 for each offence and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

A secondary suite is a separate dwelling inside a single family home.

Secondary suites must meet the minimum standards found in the Alberta Fire and Building Codes. Illegal secondary suites put tenants at risk as they typically do not have interconnected smoke alarms, proper fire separations, and inadequate exiting.

Secondary suites are allowed on a discretionary basis in single family homes in Red Deer. Property owners require a development and building permit for the use of a secondary suite.