Landlord could be charged after CO poisoning of tenants

Cornwall Fire Platoon Chief Pierre Baril speaks with a Union Gas employee on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 after several residents at a Louisa Street apartment building were poisoned by carbon monoxide. The fire department said Monday Feb. 29, 2016 that it's contemplating charges under the Ontario Fire Code. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – The owner of a five-plex on Louisa Street could be facing charges after several residents suffered carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Two people were hospitalized and two more were treated at the scene of 231-233 Louisa Street on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 for the potentially deadly CO case.

When firefighters went into the building they found CO readings of 35 parts per million (ppm).

They also discovered several smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors were missing in the building, which are required by law.

The fire department announced Monday they are actively investigating the case and could lay charges under the Ontario Fire Code – a set of laws enforced by fire departments.

Charges under the Ontario Fire Code can carry a maximum $100,000 fine per violation and/or up to a year in jail, following a conviction.

Cornwall Fire Chief Pierre Voisine indicated to Cornwall Newswatch that the fire department is taking a zero tolerance approach to landlords and will be “pushing it (smoke and carbon monoxide alarm compliance) to the fullest extent of the law.”

If charges are laid, the chief said this would serve as a warning to other landlords to get their houses in order.

Voisine said the department also bought state-of-the-art equipment to be able to test carbon monoxide levels in people, in addition to taking air readings.

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