The Paddington Station fire last December left more than 100 people homeless. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Balcony sprinklers considered for other buildings after Paddington Station fire

Strata council of Langley City residential complex is looking into retro-fitting other buildings

As repair work to the fire-damaged Paddington Station building on 201A Street near 56 Avenue in Langley City continues, owners of units in the other buildings in the residential complex are considering upgrading their fire protection by adding balcony sprinklers.

Paddington Station strata council president Donna Francis said the council was investigating the cost of installing balcony sprinklers in neighbouring buildings, following a meeting of owners.

“They want us to pursue it (even though) it wouldn’t be covered by insurance,” Francis said.

New provincial fire safety regulations, adopted after the Dec. 11 fire that left more than 100 people homeless, call for balcony sprinklers in new four-storey wood-frame buildings, but the requirement doesn’t apply to existing buildings.

As to whether the regulations will apply to the repaired building, Francis said the strata owners are waiting for word from the insurer and the company handling the restoration work.

“We want that answer and we want to know,” Francis said.

The new sprinkler requirements took effect July 20.

Investigators have determined that the cause of the fire was the result of the disposal of smoking materials on a fourth floor balcony.

While the building had sprinklers, there were none on the balconies or in the attic because provincial building code regulations in effect at the time did not require them in four-storey wood-frame buildings.

The Thompson report said most multi-unit apartment building roofs are constructed using light-weight truss construction that starts to fail after five to 10 minutes of flame exposure.

In the Paddington Station fire, firefighters had the balcony fire knocked down from the exterior within five minutes of arrival, Thompson said.

“However, the first attack team into the apartment of origin reported heavy fire conditions already in the attic space.”

There have been 18 balcony fires in the City over five years, nine of them requiring direct intervention by the fire department.

All of the nine were caused by improper disposal of “smoker’s material,” usually cigarettes butted out in planters, Thompson said.

“Smoker’s material needs to be disposed of in proper ashtrays,” Thompson said.

“Potting soil often contains peat moss which is combustible.”

Thompson said the department would like to see installation of sprinklers both on balconies and in attics of all multi-story residential buildings.

“If this building (Paddington) had sprinklers on the balconies and in the attic, this fire likely would not have spread into the attic space.”

In March, the provincial government announced fire sprinklers will be required on the balconies of all new four-storey wood-frame residential buildings effective July 20.

The announcement said the new sprinkler requirements would not take effect until July 20 to allow time for the industry to adapt to the new requirement.

The government announcement said building codes and fire sprinkler standards only apply at the time of construction and cannot be retroactively required on existing buildings.

Just Posted

VIDEO: emergency landing near Langley airport

Plane lost power during take-off

Crash on 200 Street in Langley Township

Report of traffic congestion following late morning accident

Langley Mounties nab suspected purse snatchers in Remembrance Day robbery

A man and woman are behind bars thanks to reports of a suspicious vehicle in Brookswood on Nov. 11.

Heavy downpours expected in parts of Metro Vancouver

Heavy rain will begin to ease off Sunday evening as the frontal system moves south out of the area

Police investigate string of overnight fires in North Delta

Suspected arson caused damage to vehicles, signage in the area, Delta Police say

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

Volunteers use drones in search for missing women

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

Crash shuts down Highway 91 in Richmond for hours

The stretch of highway was closed for more than 6 hours due to a multi-vehicle accident

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

Most Read