Learning From Experience: Fire Prevention Week with Orillia Fire

A Fatal Retirement Home Fire That Lead to Life-Saving Changes

A tragic fire has gone on to make the world a safer place.

To mark Fire Prevention Week, we’re taking a look back at fires that left their mark on our community, and how we’ve learned from them, with the help of local Fire Services. Orillia Fire Services didn’t hesitate to bring up the Muskoka Heights fire when we called asking for input.

Muskoka Heights fire, photo courtesy Orillia Fire Services

Muskoka Heights fire, photo courtesy Orillia Fire Services

In 2009, a fire at an Orillia retirement home killed four people, but subsequently brought about significant, life-saving change.

“The Muskoka Heights fire was once in a career fire for many of us and the results of which, including the first time charges against a care occupancy operator, have provided us with valuable lessons.” Fire Chief Rick Dominelli

A coroner’s inquest following the fatal fire prompted the provincial government of the day to make automatic sprinklers mandatory in retirement homes and assisted living centres, and not just those built after 1998 as original laws stipulated.

Related: Learning From Experience: Fire Prevention Week With Barrie Fire

The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs has called this the most important fire-safety improvement since smoke alarms became mandatory.