BC Corrections criticized over Maple Ridge jail fire that wounded 19 officers

Serious violations found at Maple Ridge facility after fire in January

A workers compensation inspector found serious health and safety violations at a Fraser Valley jail after a fire wounded 19 corrections officers in January.

A WorkSafeBC report says employees at the Fraser Valley Regional Correction Centre in Maple Ridge were allowed to enter a fire- or smoke-affected area without proper respirators or training.

The report also says the BC Corrections Branch didn’t have proper evacuation plans in place for inmates and that the local fire department wouldn’t enter a building where inmates were unsecured.

WorkSafe says its inspector found BC Corrections also took away respirators and replaced them with ill-fitting masks.

Corrections has been given until April 21 to comply with three orders including reassessing its fire-extinguisher rules, changing its procedures for the evacuation of inmates and giving workers proper training in the changes.

The B.C. Government Employees Union said after the incident on Jan. 20 that the workers required medical attention for burning eyes and lungs, and smoke inhalation after the fire was intentionally set inside the segregation unit.

The Canadian Press

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