There were no smoke alarms on the main level of the Brampton house where a Valentine’s Day fire killed all but one member of the Kapadia family, the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office (OFM) has confirmed.
“That would have obviously not given the occupants any warning” that deadly smoke was creeping up the open staircase of the backsplit, into the bedrooms where Jyoti Kapadia, 45, her husband Iftekhar Niazi, 48, and their daughters Amina Kapadia, 18, and Zoya Kapadia, 8, would have been sleeping, according to OFM investigations supervisor Rick Derstoff.
All but Zoya died in the fire. The little girl is still recovering from third-degree burns to her hands, smoke inhalation, and the loss of her entire family.
She was brought from Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital to the Brampton Makki Masjid Saturday to say goodbye to her parents and sister at their funeral. Wheeled in on a stretcher before the funeral started, she was there only briefly, before being taken back to the hospital where she has been ever since the 4 a.m. blaze in her Madison Street home.
Imam Omar Subedar said the community is still in a state of shock.
“This could happen to anyone if certain checks and balances are not put in place such as having active smoke alarms and things of that nature. So for something of this nature to happen, it definitely has come to the community as a shock,” Subedar said. “We just have to offer emotional support.”
Derstoff said the basement apartment in the semi-detached backsplit had two smoke alarms, but one was inoperable because it was installed improperly, and the status of the second isn’t clear.
Both the main level and basement apartment were rented. Derstoff said it is the landlord’s legal responsibility to ensure working smoke alarms are installed.