Charges have been laid against two people, related to an illegal secondary suite, following a fatal blaze on the city’s south side last year.

The fire in July of 2019 claimed the life of a man and his dog.

Lethbridge Chief Fire Marshall, Heath Wright says this situation had a tragic outcome and is a serious reminder of the important responsibility all owners have to legalize their secondary suites and make sure they’re safe.

“Our thoughts go out to the victim’s family. This has been devastating for everyone involved. Our hope, in sharing this information, is that more people will understand the seriousness of operating an illegal suite and take the steps needed to ensure their tenants are safe,” says Wright.

The charges involve several serious violations to the Alberta Fire Cod including improper bedroom exit widows, lack of required smoke alarms, and a lack of proper fire separations for the furnace room.

Each violation, in the case of a first offence, holds a fine of up to $100,000 and/or six months in jail.

Legal Secondary Suites need to be approved by the City’s Development Services department and must meet requirements of the Building Code.

It’s the responsibility of each home owner to ensure these standards are met. Between 2009 and 2019 the City provided close to $500,000 in grant funding to give financial assistance to those needing to make upgrades.