Fire inspections spotty

A former Whitehorse daycare was a fire hazard, according to its owner. Linda Bonnefoy lost her licence to work with children because of an injury, and is now relocating to Haines Junction.

A former Whitehorse daycare was a fire hazard, according to its owner.

Linda Bonnefoy lost her licence to work with children because of an injury, and is now relocating to Haines Junction.

“When I sold my house, I learned that I could have had a fire in my house at any time,” Bonnefoy told city council last week.

The daycare could often hold up to 40 parents and children at any given time, she said.

“I could have compromised the life of any of these children, especially the ones that were sleeping in my home.”

Every year, Bonnefoy’s Riverdale home was inspected by city fire officials and there was no reason to believe there was a problem with her stove.

However, when she sold her home, she got a full inspection done.

“They went down inside my chimney and they found blisters,” said Bonnefoy.

“And also my wood stove was condemned.”

She raised the issue with child-care services to ensure that these things don’t go unnoticed in the future.

“A lot of the requirements we have for inspections come from the National Fire Code,” said Whitehorse Fire Chief Clive Sparks.

“And for things such as heating equipment and appliances we tell the owner of the home or business that the heating appliance should be inspected by a qualified person.”

Initial installations of chimneys and heating appliances are inspected through the Whitehorse building inspection department.

After that, the onus is on the owners to have their chimney maintained and inspected regularly.

The city’s fire inspectors aren’t qualified to climb up on the roof and look down someone’s chimney, said Sparks.

“We don’t have the training to inspect chimneys,” he said.

“And I wouldn’t have them climbing up on the roofs themselves to go and inspect a chimney either, from a safety perspective.”

The city’s fire inspectors check to make sure that fire extinguishers are present and in working order.

They also make sure stoves and furnaces are at a safe distance from walls, furniture and anything else that might present a fire hazard.

“We look at it visually and if things don’t look like they’re falling apart – if they look like they’re in reasonable repair – we OK it,” said Sparks.

Anyone with a wood stove should check the chimney often while first starting to use it to ensure it isn’t full of creosote, he said.

And operate your stove according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

That will help prevent chimney fires.

And once you’ve figure out how often the stove needs to be cleaned and maintained, additional inspections should probably be done once a year, Sparks added.

“I had a wood stove because I believed it was good for children to learn how to carry wood and how to stack wood,” said Bonnefoy.

“From the outside my chimney looked very safe and my wood stove looked very good.

“It wasn’t until I tried to sell my home that I realized that I was really in a position of negligence.”

Child care services declined to comment.

Contact Chris Oke at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25 after two masked men entered a residence, assaulted a man inside with a weapon and departed. (Black Press file)
Two men arrested after Dawson City home invasion

Dawson City RCMP are reporting a break and enter on Feb. 25.… Continue reading

Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters at a news conference in Whitehorse on Dec. 21, 2017. New ATIPP laws are coming into effect April 1. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News file)
New access to information laws will take effect April 1

“Our government remains committed to government openness and accountability.”

City council meeting in Whitehorse on Feb. 8. At Whitehorse city council’s March 1 meeting, members were presented with a bylaw that would repeal 10 bylaws deemed to be redundant or out of date. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Out with the old

Council considers repealing outdated bylaws

A bobcat is used to help clear snow in downtown Whitehorse on Nov. 4. According to Environment Canada, the Yukon has experienced record-breaking precipitation this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon will have “delayed spring” after heavy winter snowfall

After record levels of precipitation, cold spring will delay melt

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted online. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

Most Read