Chief John Kobarda. (File photo – London Free Press)

Knowledge of fire code violations in buildings will remain hard to get.

A motion to publicly post fire code issues for some buildings, such as apartments, was turned down at the community and protective services committee Tuesday, after the timeline of convictions became an issue.

It may take years to get a conviction, and by that time a building may have a new owner, the committee heard.

“We understand what council is trying to achieve and we stand behind that. The way the system works, it is not as timely as people like,” said John Kobarda, chief of the London Fire Department.

Kobarda said by the time fire code violations could be posted, the problem may not exist.

“I can’t say it will improve public safety. Convictions may take a year or more.”

He pointed to the fatal 2014 fire at an Oxford Street apartment that took nearly three years to get a conviction.

“Now it has new owners, it is renovated and used for a different purpose,” said Kobarda.

He also said the London Fire Department is hard pressed to keep up with inspections. It has 15 fire inspectors on staff and in 2016 the local fire department had about 1,500 inspections and more than 80 tickets were issued.

Coun. Phil Squire encouraged committee members to reject posting the information.

“Intuitively, people think that it is attractive, but factually it is not accurate,” he said.

Coun. Mo Salih, who supported the initiative, believes it is a matter of public safety.

“I will bring this back,” said Salih.

“I don’t see the harm in allowing the people to have this information to make their own decisions.”

The committee also heard from London lawyer Joe Hoffer, representing the 500-member London Property Management Association.

“It is of limited value in determining if a business is safe. It may mislead members of the public,” he said.

Allegations of fire code violations are public information, obtained from the provincial offences court.

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Source: Posting of fire code issues rejected | The London Free Press