Revelation of negligence in securing buildings in the event of fire

Revelation of negligence in securing buildings in case of fire

The William-Watson-Ogilvie heritage building.

Due to a moratorium applied since October 26, 2018 by the Montreal Fire Department (SIM), expert surveys conducted to verify the safety of buildings during ;fires have been suspended, The Global & Mail. The SIM ended the moratorium only a few days after the fire that ravaged the William-Watson-Ogilvie building on March 16. The tragic event highlighted flaws in the application of safety standards in City buildings.

It is the lack of training of the teams of investigators supposed to identify security gaps that would explain the establishment of the moratorium. Among the possible problems, we cite in particular the insufficient number of emergency exits, the non-compliance of the alarm system or the dead-end corridors preventing evacuation during a fire. Confusion around what makes up security standards was also cited as justification.

An investigation revealed security issues in 2009 in the case of the building in Old Montreal. The shortcomings identified had been reiterated in 2018 in 2021. However, at the time, the technicians had not initiated an investigation due to the moratorium.

Shortly after the fire, Héritage Montréal pointed out that ;no known record of the history of Montreal heritage buildings destroyed as a result of fires or other disasters existed in Montreal at this time. Calling for better collaboration between architects and firefighters, the organization insists that there are regular inspections so that the health check of the buildings is kept up to date, especially for buildings classified as heritage due to their complexity.

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