Charges laid in fire that killed basement tenant in Lethbridge

Two people face steep fines and possible jail time following a fire in Lethbridge that killed a man living in an illegal basement suite. 

The fire happened in July 2019. When fire crews arrived, they found the man in the basement and were unable to resuscitate him. 

The tenant’s dog also died. 

After further investigation, it was determined the basement suite was illegal. 

Heath Wright, chief fire marshal for Lethbridge, says the charges stem from several fire code violations. 

“Improper bedroom exit windows, lack of required smoke alarms, no carbon monoxide alarms, lack of proper fire separation from the furnace area — those are the largest life safety conditions that we immediately look for and that is why the two people have been charged,” he said.

Wright says each violation could carry a fine of up to $100,000 or six months in jail. 

He says it’s important for landlords to know what’s required to make secondary suites legal. 

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