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Investigation reveals clogged dryer vent caused fatal fire in East Gwillimbury

Four people died from the house fire in March 2013.

Ontario Fire Marshal and Chief Ted Wieclawek

A dryer vent clogged with lint is what led to a fatal house fire in East Gwillimbury.

The fire took place on March 29, 2013 and left four people from the same family dead. The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management announced the details from investigation on Wednesday.

They found that the clogged dryer was not installed as per dryer manufacturer’s instructions and the main floor of the home was not equipped with a smoke detector.

Volunteer fire fighters arrived at 72 Howard Avenue in Sharon 12 minutes after the 9-1-1 call.

Ontario Fire Marshal and Chief, Ted Wieclawek, says the late detection is what led to the grave outcome.

“Responding fire fighters were unable to conduct rescue or initiate immediate interior suppression activities given the delay in the discovery of the fire and the extreme fire conditions faced by fire fighters on arrival,” he said.

There was a working smoke detector on the second floor, but by the time it went off, Wieclawek said he believes the family was trapped.

Moving forward, he explained there will be evaluations of the province’s smoke alarm programs and home escape planning messaging.

Wieclawek added that, although volunteer fire fighters are trained to handle situations like this, there will be a push for automatic aid agreements. This means that the closest fire station would respond to an emergency call, despite the municipal boundaries.

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