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City of Vancouver increasing fire inspections

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The city and the Vancouver Fire Department are cracking down on unsafe buildings. Twenty thousand inspections will be done this year, but only certain kinds of buildings will be inspected.

The crackdown comes after three people were killed in a rooming house fire on Pandora Street last month. Last night, more than 20 people were evacuated from an apartment on Dundas Street after inspectors found there was an imminent threat of a fire. The owner has been given until 4 o’clock Monday afternoon to bring the property up to code.

The city says there will be 7,000 more inspections of apartment buildings and commercial properties compared to last year, but single family buildings, like the one on Pandora, are another story. Fire Chief John McKearney says, “Our work plan for 2011 is to move forward on a pilot for home inspections on a voluntary basis.”

The fire department will also be imposing stiff penalties on owners who don’t comply. The Vancouver Sun reports in the past, the city hasn’t gone after rule-breakers because of bureaucratic laziness. But starting next month, fees of $100 per hour will be charged for reinspecting buildings that don’t meet fire safety standards.