No smoke alarm, faulty cord contributed to fatal B.C. fire

Faulty electric cord and power source connected to space heater believed to have caused flames

A fire that left one man dead in a Vancouver home last weekend could have been prevented, officials say.

The man, in his 70s, died following the fire in the 2600 block of East 47 Avenue on Sunday. He’d been living in an illegal suite that did not have a fire alarm.

Crews arrived to find heavy smoke flowing out of the front and rear of the single-detached home. Three other people in the house were able to escape.

The flames are believed to have been caused by a faulty electric cord and power source connected to a space heater on the main floor, where the man was found. Investigators are still determining exactly how the heater failed.

“This was just a failure on every level,” Capt. Jonathan Gormick said Wednesday. “There’s not much reason to not have a working smoke alarm.”

READ MORE: Woman dies in accidental fire in Vancouver’s Yaletown

Smoke alarms should be tested every six months, Gormick said. Optimally, alarms should be installed outside every room, or on every floor at the very least.

Space heaters can also draw a lot of current, he added, and should be plugged into an extension cord that can provide an adequate power supply – such as a UL cord – or into the wall directly.


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