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Homeowners convicted in fatal Etobicoke rooming house fire

A two-alarm fire broke out at a home on Byng Avenue in Etobicoke on Feb. 22, 2018. CITYNEWS

The owners of an illegal rooming house where a basement fire claimed the life of a 21-year-old woman this winter have been convicted of multiple fire code violations.

On Feb. 22, fire crews were called to Byng Avenue, near Albion Road, just after 2:30 a.m.

Police said the woman, a tenant of the home, was in the basement with two other people when the fire broke out. She was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries and later died.

A 20-year-old man was rescued from the fire and treated in hospital. A second male occupant escaped unharmed.

An investigation conducted by Toronto Fire Services found that the multi-unit residential house didn’t have working smoke alarms. As well, officials said there were breaches in fire separations and an absence of fire-rated doors.

Homeowners Tram Le and Trong Huu Din pleaded guilty in provincial court on Thursday.

“This terrible fire is a grim reminder that violations of the fire code in boarding, rooming and lodging houses can pose serious risks and result in tragic consequences,” Jim Jessop, Deputy Fire Chief with the City of Toronto, said in a release.

“Toronto Fire Services is committed to ensuring appropriate measures are taken by property owners to achieve both compliance and fire safety; especially in non-complaint boarding, rooming and lodging houses.”

Trong Huu Dinh was fined $34,500 for a violation under the Planning Act plus a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge and court costs for numerous violations of the Ontario Fire Code.

Tram Le received suspended sentences for the same violations.

As well, the court has ordered that neither are allowed to operate any multi-unit residential occupancy for two years unless the property is in compliance with all applicable statutes and regulations.