WOOD HEATING FIRES
In 1985, there were 1,259 fires in Ontario, caused by heating with wood. In 1986, the number of fires was 1,213 with a dollar loss of nearly $12,000,000.
Approximately one third of these fires were due to design/installation deficiencies, with another one third due to equipment misuse or human failings, and the remaining one third undetermined or other causes.
Of the $12,000,000 in claims, $3.4 million was due to design/construction problems, of which $1.5 million were created by someone other than the building owner. This $1.5 million should be recoverable through subrogation.
Another $2.4 million was due to misuse and human failures. In some instances, this was an action of a tenant, or third party. A portion of this $2.4 million was recoverable through subrogation.
The remaining $3.9 million was due to fires of undetermined origin, originating at wood burning equipment. With a thorough expert investigation, a large portion of this money may be recoverable through subrogation.
The subrogation pool due to wood heating fires appears to be in the $3 to 4 million range in Ontario annually, with an average claim of $10,000.
When considering subrogation, an independent engineering assessment of fire cause is essential.
When the cause is determined, then the deficiencies must be pinpointed, and liability for each deficiency must be established.
Contributing factors must be evaluated, to determine the extent of liability of each party. When all of the technical information is gathered and analyzed properly, the legal liability is much easier to determine.
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Walters Forensic Engineering | 277 Wellington
Street West, Suite 800 | Toronto, ON M5V 3H2