Windsor Fire and Rescue Chief Prevention Officer Mike Coste is discouraged. A fire in the 400 block of Elm Street Tuesday morning was the tipping point because he found out there was no working smoke or carbon monoxide detector in the house.
“As an approach this year it’s [going to] be zero tolerance. We’re done asking and beginning. We’re just [going to] start handing out tickets. Unfortunately, and hopefully we can change the way people think,” said Coste, who added the owner of the Elm Street home will receive a $360 ticket for the smoke detector and $360 ticket for the carbon monoxide detector.
Some of the most common causes of house fires is unattended cooking, careless smoking and overloading electrical systems.
“We’ll have a fire with six, seven, eight plugs in it. overheated Well, it’s only a 15 amp plug and you can’t put it all in so we have a lot of those fires,” said Coste, who added a couple of fires have also been sparked by charging an e-bike indoors which lead to the plugs overheating.
“One of them was over on Grandview which is a quarter of a million dollars in damage. Luckily nobody got hurt. They had a working smoke alarm,” he said.
There were 133 fire deaths in Ontario last year, the highest total in more than 20 years. Two of those deaths were in Windsor, Ont. which is why Coste wants residents to understand the importance of fire safety.
He urges residents to create an escape plan and ensure you have a functioning smoke detector not older than 10 years.
“[By the] time you wake up without a smoke alarm you’re [going to] take a breath of the smoke, the smoke is what’s going to kill you. It’s not [going to] be the fire. You’re going to succumb because there’s no oxygen to breathe,” he said.