Talking To A Community Fire Safety Officer

(Photo by Nick DeWolf)

I had been told a similar thing by two different people with experience in matters relating to the gas station vent pipes : that they were to be located a minimum of 9 (or 11) feet from a flammable structure, like a wooden fence, and that they were also supposed to be located far from plant matter that would be considered flammable – like deciduous shrubbery.

I emailed a variety of government entities that I thought would have the specific code for this, but none did.

I was directed to speak to a Community Fire Safety Officer.

My fence – which existed before the vents were relocated – was entirely made from wood, as was the shoddy fence the station erected. Theirs was 48″ or less from the vents. I had planted several Smoke Bushes on my property, which were there before the new vent placement as well. These were planted less than 36″ from the presumed property line (ie cement retaining wall).

I was deeply concerned at this time(spring 2020) about the terrible new lighting that was directly within 48″ of the vent openings.

The Fire Safety Officer I spoke with did not have a lot of answers. He said that he would examine the relevant codes about the fence and shrubbery proximity and get back to me. When he did, he said that there was nothing in the Ontario Fire Code which addressed this, so the code in question may be a MUNICIPAL code.I had searched for this locally, but could find no mention of this. One of the people who told me this lived in a different municipality, so this code may be in their bylaws, but not here.

I told him about my extremely serious concerns about the light safety – that it did not appear to be gasketed or explosion proof, and the risk of a large volume of gasoline vapours being ignited by an electrical spark during a tanker fill.

Then what he said FLOORED ME : he told me that they did not have access to or copies of the TSSA liquid fuel handling code. He said that each fire department would have to purchase their own copy of codes – including the TSSA’s, electrical code, etc. – and as that many of these codes cost hundreds of dollars to purchase that they did not have the budget to do this. He told me to contact the TSSA regarding the lighting issue.

So the department which is supposed to have oversight, and I assume enforcement of fire code infractions did not even have access to this information !

This code – where it existed – seems to vary by municipality vs having provincial standards.

It’s not like fire discriminates between differing municipal standards.

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