Submitted. Over the past four months, the City of Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS), with the unanimous support of the Mayor and Council, has taken extreme measures in order to ensure the safety of the residents of Tessaro Villa. There has been an ongoing lack of cooperation from the strata property owners regarding the maintenance of the fire protection systems in this building.
The fire alarm system in Tessaro Villa has been deemed as non-functional by the BC Safety Authority. Without a functioning fire alarm system, a fire related event would endanger both lives and property. It was AFRS’s hope that the strata property owners would take responsibility for the life safety requirements of the property and its residents. Unfortunately, the property owners have not cooperated in maintaining their property. Life safety conditions have deteriorated to the point where the city can no longer permit this building to be occupied.
The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service has received approval from the Office of the Fire Commissioner of B.C. under the B.C. Fire Services Act (Section 25) to invoke an Evacuation Order of Tessaro Villa. The purpose of this order is to eliminate the risk to life and property by evacuating and closing the building.
AFRS has been extremely sensitive to the impact of an immediate evacuation on the residents of the building. It was decided that the residents would be allowed to stay in the building for a short period of time until re-location arrangements could be finalized. During this time period a security company was hire to perform a 24 hour per day fire watch. This measure was in accordance with BC Fire Services Act requirements to ensure the safety of the residents.
The Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service has placed a high priority on assisting the residents with their re-location. AFRS has cooperated with the Ministry of Social Development, the Salvation Army, Abbotsford Community Services, Women’s Resource Centre and the Elizabeth Fry Society.
It should be noted that the residents have been extremely cooperative with both AFRS and the various support agencies during the re-location process. The re-location of all residents of Tessaro Villa was completed on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.