The Alberta government has issued a province-wide safety notice prohibiting the installation or use of certain non-certified gas fireplaces.
The notice stated the units were manufactured by Canadian Fire Hearth Mfg. Inc. and Luxor Mfg. Inc. and followed a similar safety order in British Columbia back in 2018.
Global News had heard from several Calgary homeowners before the notice was issued.
Brie-Anne Rici said she first was notified of the problem via a letter from her homebuilder Cedarglen Homes. She said she then contacted the company that had done her certification in the past, which checked her serial number.
“We found that our fireplace is affected,” Risi said.
“How could this happen? I mean there should be lots of checks and balances to make sure these units are properly certified.”
The letter from Cedarglen went on to say that unknown to suppliers, builders and governing bodies, “Canadian Fire Hearth Mfg. Inc. and Luxor Mfg. Inc made changes to their product without proper testing and certification.”
“As the workmanship and material warranty on your home is one year from possession date, Cedarglen Homes is not able to facilitate removal or replacement,” the company said.
“We’ve been told that they’d have to remove the entire surround of the fireplace,” Risi said. “So that would probably be about $5,000 for most homes.”
“This will be out of our pockets probably in the end, unless somebody decides to stand up and help out.”
Cedarglen Homes president Howard Tse told Global News he understands where customers are coming from.
“Our homeowners have questions and so do we,” he said.
Tse said the company only became aware of B.C.’s safety order after another Calgary Cedarglen customer had her fireplace serviced and flagged.
“When we heard about it we began our investigation,” he added. “We began to put together a list of local homeowners that might be affected by the safety order.”
Tse said they then sent a second letter to homeowners, and started to investigate the issue with BILD Alberta and the province.
The second letter explained which fireplaces were affected — Luxor MB-36 and Canadian Fire Hearth MB-36 fireplaces (MB-36) — and that they were installed in some Cedarglen Homes houses between 2011 and 2015.
Tse, however, did not guarantee any financial help.
“For now, our priority is safety and working with our homeowners,” he said.
“We’re working with our builders association to gather the information that we require to understand the issue at hand and determine the next steps.”
Cedarglen does not have an estimate of how many homeowners could be affected, but Tse said the company has also been going door-to-door to make sure all of its customers are aware of the problem.
He also added not all fireplaces are affected or dangerous.
“These fireplaces have been installed in houses of upwards of five to 10 years. In that time we are not aware of any safety issues that have arisen.”
Risi said she hadn’t had any issues so far, but isn’t willing to chance it. She’s asked that her unit be removed and replaced.
“Somebody has to take on some responsibility for what happened,” she added.
The province told Global News the safety notice it released at the end of January was to inform industry and stakeholders of the prohibited, non-gas fireplaces, but said it was not a recall.
However, it did say it takes safety concerns “very seriously” and has been in contact with its counterparts in B.C. to discuss the shared concerns.
Homeowners with information about non-certified fireplaces in their home are being asked to contact Alberta Municipal Affairs.
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