Saskatoon Fire Department (SFD) is considering what actions it will need to take to try and adjust safety codes for carbon monoxide detectors.
Saskatchewan’s rules are based on the National Building Code (NBC) which comes out every five years.
SFD said carbon monoxide detectors became mandatory in the 2010 version, but it wasn’t retroactive so doesn’t apply to older properties.
“There is no expectation from the province that every existing building now needs to be upgraded in order to meet that new standard as it’s adopted,” said assistant chief Wayne Rodger.
43 people at Saskatoon apartment building treated for carbon monoxide poisoning
The concern comes after 100 people had to be evacuated from a pair of apartment buildings on Jan. 14 and 15.
One person was sent to hospital and the doctor recognized the signs, asking the fire department to investigate carbon monoxide levels.
Crews found levels between 200 and 420 parts per million.
SFD says 50 parts per million is the level at which a building is evacuated and people can die in two to three hours at 400 parts per million.
It resulted in 43 people seeking care in hospital, 22 of which were children.
Crews investigated neighbouring buildings and found high carbon monoxide levels in another building and evacuated it as well.
Firefighters said the building didn’t have carbon monoxide sensors installed, but it was built before 2010 so it wasn’t mandatory.
The assistant chief added with the housing stock becoming older in Saskatoon, it is even more important for carbon monoxide alarms to be installed.
“This is probably an opportune time to take a look at that, talk with our other partners to discover what is the prudent road for us to go down,” Rodger said.
He noted fire alarms were placed in the code and made retroactive, so it is possible for the NBC to adjust its policy especially when it’s a matter of safety.
Saskatoon doctor recognized for response to carbon monoxide poisoning
The Saskatchewan Landlord Association said it would back making sensors mandatory providing property owners were given sufficient time to install them.
“We don’t want to have a tragedy to make it the time to install mandatory legislation for carbon monoxide alarms,” executive officer Cameron Choquette said.
Mainstreet Equity looks after the property where last week’s incident took place.
In a statement to Global News, the company said it has completed all of the repairs and residents are able to return home.
It adds it is still completing its own investigation.
Global News sent a response asking how many of its Saskatoon properties do not have carbon monoxide alarms installed, but didn’t receive a response by deadline.
On Jan. 15, the fire department said the property owner was able to obtain 30 sensors and would be installing them throughout the building.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.