Senior fire hazard in my building

by Lady Lee 26 Replies latest jw friends

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    purps Someone thought of that - removing the wires to her stove but that might cause her to do even more dangerous things like using a hotplate or a camp stove.

    And legally I don't think you can remove a stove or disconnect it. A functioning stove is part of the lease. Plus the woman has a right to be able to cook food.

  • blondie

    Is there any possibility of talking to the building's owners and making it clear what insurance problems would come out of people dying as a result of this woman's actions? Is there a building association that could draw one up as a group measure?

  • mouthy

    Dotnwant to hijack but Blondie read your e=mails URGENT

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Hmmm that is a great idea Blondie. I will bring it up when I meet with them next week. The building is owned by the Russian Church beside me. The Board of diectors have tried to no avail to get an eviction notice on her but legally it is very hard to do in Canada.

    But breinging the issue of insurance problems towards the building owners along with my efforts at getting her a sociio-psych evaluation and moved on a Form 2 and getting her into supportive housing I think is the best idea. There is even a home especially for Russian speaking people - perfect for her and with staff to keep her out of the kitchen.

    We may have to do this against the wishes of her 2 grown children who don't want to be bothered with their mother.

  • AGuest

    May I respond? Thank you! Please note that in this instance I will not be responding from so much from a "spiritual" perspective as from a professional one. I am a Certified Housing Manager (Washington D.C.), have managed low-income housing, including senior housing (Section 8 and Section 202) in the U.S. for 22 years, and have a law degree. Please note, I am offering what I am based on my credentials as a U.S. housing administrator and not as a form of "legal help" (don't want any issues about "practicing without a license, etc., so I need to include that disclaimer), so PLEASE do not take this as a "this is what you should do." I am not familiar with Canadian housing law, so I am not sure what you CAN do. To know definitively what you CAN and SHOULD do, you should consult with an attorney (perhaps with Legal Aid or some similar non-profit that helps with seniors, housing, etc., if you have that available. I can tell you what I would do, however, if I were in your situation and the apartment was in the U.S. (and particularly in California):

    FIRST -

    1. I would immediately sit down and document every date that the fire department has had to respond to an incident of this type... for my neighbor AND any other residents. I would do this no matter what so that I would have a record should anything ever get out of hand. It will help me (or perhaps my family). (NOTE: I would also WRITE to the fire and/or police departments and ask for copies of any incident reports. Keep in mind, it is highly unlikely that I will get them from either source since I am not a party to the incidents, but that’s okay.)

    2. I would review my lease (which should be the same as my neighbor’s) for any clause addressing safety and/or hazards, and damage to the property. Here (in California), the leases for most rental housing with more than 16 units (and certainly subsidized housing which most senior housing is) contains some kind of clause that says the resident “agrees to do nothing that presents a safety hazard or will cause damage to the property.” Smoking and/or leaving the stove on, or some other open flame, while drinking to the point of passing out, could be a violation of this clause. Note, I said “could.” It would depend on various factors, including how often the fire department has needed to respond for such incidents, whether others have the same problem, etc.

    SECOND -

    1. I would try to meet and speak with my neighbor (alone or perhaps with 1-2 others) regarding my/our concerns. I would show her every date I had and tell her how she’s putting herself, me, and everyone else at risk and ask her does she really want it on her conscience if she caused a fire that killed someone, let alone burned down the whole building.

    If my neighbor received the concerns in a good way and gets it… and it appears the risk is past, GREAT! Matter settled. If NOT:

    THIRD -

    1. I would send my neighbor a letter(which may be signed by others with the same concern) setting forth:

    a. My/our attempt to speak with her about the matter and the date;

    b. Setting forth the dates that emergency crews had to respond; and

    c. Reiterating my/our concerns; and

    d. Requesting her to cease and desist from putting my safety at risk OR RISK not only me complaining to the Landlord but taking her to civil court for an injunction and possibly money damages. (NOTE: Yes, if nothing else worked, I would sue her… not for money… but to ask the court to do something to order her to quit risking my life and that of other residents. Now, the court can’t police here, of course, so I would also ask the court, in the alternative, for money damages in the hopes that this might get her attention. I would donate any award to the resident associated, etc., or some other thing that might help make the building safer, etc. But that’s me…).

    Again, if my neighbor received the concerns in a good way and gets it… and it appears the risk is past, GREAT! Matter settled. If NOT:

    FOURTH -

    1. I would send the LANDLORD a letter (and include a copy of my letter to my neighbor, as well as send a copy of the letter to the landlord to my neighbor) and tell them of my concerns. I would include the lease clause(s) that are being violated AND dates the fire department/police had to respond and the circumstances. (NOTE: I may even speak to other residents and see if they want to sign/send the letter with me.)

    2. I would tell the landlord in the letter that I/we INTEND to (because I/we may not NEED to, yet):

    a. Contact APS; and/or

    b. Draw up a petition and speak with other residents who fear as you do; and/or

    c. Seek legal advice and action; and/or

    d. Withhold rent until the matter is resolved...

    ... if nothing is done in, say, 30-60 days. (NOTE: Of course, it would be up to me as to what constitutes “resolved” because it might not come down to having her lease terminated. It’s unlikely that an eviction could be processed in 30-60 days under these circumstances, if at all, and I really wouldn't want that, anyway. I’d just want her to stop risking my life. But at least I will have documented my concern… which might compel them to do something.)

    3. I would also ask for copies of the incidents reports and give them 10 days to provide them. Again, I most probably won’t get them, as I am not a party to them; however, my asking puts my landlord on notice that I am quite serious.

    If my Landlord (and perhaps my neighbor) receives the concerns in a good way and gets it… and it appears the risk is past, GREAT! Matter settled. If NOT:

    FIFTH -

    1. I would contact Adult Protective Services (APS) or some similar agency and let them know my concerns… for my neighbor, the other residents, and myself. I would file a report with them and ask them to look into the situation. In California, they would be obligated to at least investigate the matter. Here, my neighbor would most likely be assigned a case worker who would get her “number” fairly quickly (people who drink as you indicate she does can’t hide it for too long). I would let them take it from there and give them, say, 30-60 days.

    If APS does not respond, if they don’t make some kind of progress (i.e., get her some in-home help, have her moved to assisted housing, etc.) within 30-60 days, or if you don’t have an APS agency in your area (sorry, I am not familiar with the Canadian social service system and so don’t want to assume):

    SIXTH –

    1. I would contact Legal Aid or a similar agency/an attorney and give them a copy of my letter and ask them for help. NOTE: I would NOT actually withhold my rent until I received the go-head from an attorney; however, I would TELL the landlord that I INTEND to do so if the matter is not resolved. (Remember, this is only if there is a safety/hazard clause in your lease.)

    Anyway, that’s what I would do. I realize it seems like a lot of steps to go through, but I have learned that processes such as this tend to work best. It shows the Landlord… and the court (should it come to that)... and perhaps God... that one is not trying to be mean or arbitrary but rather is really are trying to work the matter out between the parties first. It goes a long way toward showing one’s true motive (i.e., just wanting everyone to be safe).

    In your case, I hope you are able to speedily resolve this matter in a manner that is best for ALL, your neighbor as well as yourself, your other co-residents, your landlord, and your emergency response people.

    I bid you peace.

    A slave of Christ,

    SA, on her own…

  • Out at Last!
    Out at Last!

    I would first talk to the building manager to see if the stove can be removed or disconnected. She can use a microwave which would be much more safe and still have the ability to cook, without risking building and tennant safety.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    Out at last -

    I would first talk to the building manager to see if the stove can be removed or disconnected. She can use a microwave which would be much more safe and still have the ability to cook, without risking building and tennant safety.

    excellent idea. I will let them kn ow.


    Thank you so much. I have printed that out and will give ot to our board member. They have a couple of others who need to be removed and it is a great blueprint for what to do.

  • Witness 007
    Witness 007

    Evryone has given you good advice....I was gonna say get some smoke detectors in the halls if they dont have them....the hardware store ones are very sensitive here.....thats my intelligent advice.... bit scary to live there! How do you sleep?

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    It is the law here that every building has smoke detectors and alarms in the building and in each apartment. There are some reallly heavy fines for not doing it. And it is the owners responsibility to provide them and do regular checks on them. I have a one bedroom apartment and I have 2 detectors and one alarm in my apartment. The hall outside my apartment has several detectors and alamrs. They are all checked twice a year so I feel pretty safe with that.

  • AGuest

    May you have peace!

    If [senior] rental housing in Canada is run anywhere near how it is run in the U.S., the landlord can't remove the stove/oven and require the resident to use a microwave. A lease/rental agreement is a contract and if appliances are part of it (or if the landlord installed them, thus implying they are a part of it), he/she cannot now just "alter" the terms and remove the appliance. If such housing is anywhere near like it is here, the landlord can't even disconnect it, even if the lady requests it. That's because, not only is the landlord responsible for making sure there IS a stove/oven, but must also make sure it is working condition AND that there is a working supply of gas/electricity TO it. Disconnecting it may create an additional hazard (particularly if it's a gas stove).

    The lady can CHOOSE to use ony her microwave as opposed to her stove - this is highly unlikely, however, given that she's a senior and they tend to stick with what they know (i.e., nothing they consider "new-fangled"), especially when they're suffering from dementia or engaged in heavy drinking (you know, on "auto-pilot").

    If the laws regarding [senior] housing in Canada is anything like it is here, this would not be an option. Please note, I am not meaning to shoot down your suggestion (which is good, actually, but most likely unfeasible).

    I bid you peace.

    A slave of Christ,

    SA, on her own....

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