Perth-Wellington – A fire that broke out July 21st at Tim Hortons in Arthur, has prompted MPP Randy Pettapiece to speak at Queens Park yesterday.
Despite the fact there were no injuries in the blaze, fire fighters say it was a difficult fire to battle due to the fact they were unaware the building used truss and lightweight construction.
Back in April of 2017, Pettapiece was passionate about passing a private members bill, introducing the Rea and Walter Act. It would require truss and lightweight construction to be identified on most commercial and industrial buildings.
“So we need to have this identification on buildings so they can see before they even enter the building, and that is what we are really after.”
The bill lost momentum and died when there was no action taken by the Liberals, despite unanimous
support from all parties, the bill died when the previous Liberal government failed to act on it.
The Rea and Walter Act is named in memory of two North Perth Fire Service members, Ken Rea and Ray Walter, who died battling a fire in March 2011.
Pettapiece pushed for the private members bill to be passed as he spoke yesterday in the legislature.
“The bill has been introduced twice and they refused to let it go through committee, so what we want to do is re-introduce it again and get it to committee stage and get it in there as quickly as possible.”
As for the fire on July 21st, it took 30 fire fighters to contain the blaze. Wellington North Fire Chief Dave Guilbault says it was a difficult one to contend with.
“The fire started in the ceiling cavity. It had been burning for some time before staff noticed smoke. The occupants were totally unaware the fire was burning above their heads!”
Guilbault adds that it was a very dangerous situation for the firefighters as they could not have known the building was made of truss and lightweight construction.
“Our firefighters did an excellent job of containing and extinguishing the fire, however we believe we were within moments of roof collapse. We were not aware that the roof trusses were lightweight. There was no way of knowing. There could have been serious injuries or loss of life.”
Pettapiece stresses that the fire fighters need Rea and Walter Act to pass which would clearly identify affected buildings and prevent catastrophe.