MILTON, ON, Nov. 6, 2019 /CNW/ - In a case that sends a strong message to landlords, a Milton jury has found the landlord and owner of an illegal rooming house negligent in the death of a 24-year-old Toronto woman who was trapped in a burning basement apartment six years ago.
The deadly fire broke out on November 20, 2013, at approximately 1:40 a.m., at 189 Sheridan Ave., near College and Dufferin Streets. The home had been converted into an unregistered, illegal rooming house. Alisha Lamers suffered extensive second-and-third degree burns to more than half of her body and died later in hospital. An investigation by the Ontario Fire Marshal found numerous Code violations in the basement apartment, including no working smoke alarm, only one exit and bars blocking the two basement apartment windows.
The jury in the civil suit launched by Lamers' parents, found Konstantin Lysenko (and his corporation) responsible for the death of Alisha Lamers by failing to fulfill their responsibilities as a landlord, including ensuring a safety plan was in place, keeping smoke alarms in operating condition, and providing at least two exits on each floor of the building. The jury award with interest to Janet Moore and Robert Lamers will exceed more than $1.6 million in damages.
"This tragic case underscores how unscrupulous landlords can skirt the law and put lives at risk," said Michael Smitiuch, of Smitiuch Injury Law PC, the lawyer representing Lamer's parents. "The reality is that had Lysenko complied with fire code regulations, Alisha could have escaped with her life."
In his closing address, Smitiuch argued that there was extensive evidence proving that Lysenko did not comply with the Ontario Fire Code. Since 2014, Toronto Fire Services has charged more than 200 people or corporations with operating rooming houses in violation of the fire code.
"Alisha's parents are hoping this case leads to greater awareness and stronger regulations to protect public safety," added Smitiuch. "It also serves as a warning to other illegal rooming house landlords about the consequences of putting a higher value on rent money than people's lives."
SOURCE Smitiuch Injury Law PC