Court fines corporation $20,000

St. Catharines Fire Department CrestCity of St. Catharines press release – Acting Fire Chief Jeff McCormick says all buildings must be fire safe and up to code after the Ontario Court of Justice levied $20,000 in fines against the corporate owner of an industrial storage facility.

On Friday, June 14/2019, 55 Oakdale Investments, the corporate owner of the industrial property at 55 Oakdale Ave., pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to maintain the sprinkler system in proper operating condition and one charge of failing to comply with an inspection order to repair the sprinkler system. The Ontario Court of Justice levied $15,000 in fines against the corporation. In addition, Joseph Accardi and Mark Accardi, officers of 55 Oakdale Investments, pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to maintain the sprinkler system in proper operating condition and were each fined $2,500.

Charges stem from a structure fire at the property on Oct. 18, 2017, after the fire investigation found the sprinkler system was inoperative and failed to activate. Further investigation revealed the sprinkler system had been inoperative for a period of time and not maintained in operating condition as required by the Ontario Fire Code. An inspection order was issued to bring the sprinkler system up to code. The owner failed to comply with the order by the required timeline which resulted in the additional charge.

“Property owners are responsible for properly maintaining the life safety systems protecting their buildings and occupants in accordance with the Ontario Fire Code at all times, regardless of whether St. Catharines Fire and Emergency Management Services conducts an inspection or not,” said the acting fire chief, adding the quick and aggressive response by St. Catharines firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to combustible materials stored in the building which could have resulted in a much more significant fire.

In another case before the courts on June 14, the owner of 8 Queenston St.,1856281 Ontario Corp., its officers Kalaranjani Masilanamy and Ongrasothy Masillamany, and a tenant pleaded guilty to Ontario Fire Code violations relating to the storage of excessive combustibles in a unit. The court imposed fines, plus court costs and victim fine surcharges, of $2,500 against 1856281 Ontario Corp. and $200 against Howard McCullough for failing to comply with an inspection order.