(BlackburnNews.com file photo by Mark Brown)

Pettapiece re-introduces Rae and Walter Act to improve firefighter safety

The MPP for Perth-Wellington has re-introduced the Rea and Walter Act for Truss and Lightweight Construction Identification.

Randy Pettapiece said firefighters need to know which buildings contain truss and lightweight construction (TLC) so that when a fire breaks out they know how to attack it safely.

A Tim Hortons fire in Arthur on July 21 demonstrated the need for Truss and Lightweight Construction identification.

“We were not aware that the roof trusses were lightweight. There was no way of knowing. There could have been serious injuries or loss of life,” said Wellington North Fire Service Chief Dave Guilbault.

The Rea and Walter Act was wiped off the legislative agenda at Queen’s Park when the previous Liberal government prorogued the legislature in March 2018.

The act will require commercial and industrial buildings, as well as certain multi-family dwellings using TLC, to be marked by an identification emblem.

Buildings containing TLC will be required to post one of three emblems — “F” decals if only the floor of the building uses TLC; “R” decals if only the roof of the building uses TLC; and “FR” decals if both the floor and the roof of the building use TLC.

The act is named in honour of two North Perth fire service members. Ken Rea and Ray Walter died in 2011 when the roof of a store constructed with TLC collapsed while they were fighting a fire.

“I am hopeful this bill will again receive all-party support,” said Pettapiece after tabling it in the Legislature. “I am looking forward to working with all of my colleagues and stakeholder groups across the province. It is the minimum standard our firefighters should expect.

“The Rea and Walter Act will restore trust and accountability between fire departments, municipalities and small business owners,” he said.