Laval’s regional health authority has decided to cancel the certification of the Manoir Chomedey senior citizens’ residence because of non-conformity to fire safety regulations. According to the CISSS de Laval, it is the first time every in Quebec that a social services institution’s operating permit has been revoked for reasons of fire safety.
“Unfortuntately, there are still some negligent owners who have learned nothing of the lessons from the Îsle-Verte fire,” André St-Hilaire, head of fire prevention with the Laval Fire Department, told Radio-Canada earlier this week, referring to the fire that killed more than 30 people two years ago.
Security not a priority
According to Radio-Canada, the fire department and local CISSS authorities have been trying to get the Manoir Chomedey’s owner, a Toronto businessman, to improve fire safety for several years at the seniors’ residence where 150 elderly with reduced autonomy and mobility now live.
“You might say that the owner doesn’t put fire security up front in his priorities and has not chosen to make the necessary investments to improve the safety of his residents,” St-Hilaire added.
Residents being relocated
While the owner is said to have promised to improve fire security systems and the training of staff, the Laval fire department maintains he didn’t follow through on the pledges. As such, CISSS de Laval has decided to take action and will be relocating 36 residents who are considered most vulnerable to another retirement residence because the risks at Manoir Chomedey are considered too high.
According to Radio-Canada, fire drills haven’t taken place at the seniors’ residence in four years, nor does the building have a fire security strategy that is regarded by the fire department as satisfactory. Over the past two years when the fire department paid visits, they concluded the staff was ill-prepared to deal with a fire emergency.
Code infractions cited
The fire department maintains that a minor fire that broke out at Manoir Chomedey last year exposed the residence’s fire safety weaknesses. During an inspection last fall, the department recorded 18 pages of fire code infractions. Among them, smoke detectors were found to be missing, not working or out of date, and fire breaks between areas weren’t up to code.
Although some improvements have apparently been made by the owner, they are said to be insufficient to satisfy the fire authorities. Revoking Manoir Chomedey’s accreditation is regarded as a drastic step which it is hoped will lead to vast improvement at the seniors’ residence.