Electrical fire at 250 Frederick Street adds to recent problems for residents

Electrical fire at 250 Frederick Street adds to recent problems for residents
Electrical fire at 250 Frederick Street adds to recent problems for residents

A small fire at 250 Frederick Street in Kitchener over the weekend is one of many issues residents have faced recently.

In recent months, residents have faced three separate waves of eviction notices, an ongoing parking dispute with building management, and complaints about maintenance.

On Saturday, the Kitchener Fire Department reported an electrical fire, but no one was injured.

Resident Heather Berry lives on the 17th floor, where the fire started.

“I woke up at 11:30 a.m. to the blaring fire alarm going off,” Berry told CTV News. “You could see smoke coming from across the hall. So I immediately put my cats in the carrier, just in case it was real.”

When she found out it was real, she was shocked.

“It was scary because we weren’t sure what the flame situation was. We knew it was very smoky,” she said.

Berry said she and her neighbors, many of whom are elderly, spent the next few hours outside before being allowed back inside.

Firefighters in the building at 250 Fredrick Street. (Submitted/Robert Elder)

The problems for the residents of 250 Frederick Street began in the fall of 2023, when new owners purchased the building.

“In the 10 years I’ve been here, there’s been no problems until the last seven months. It’s been one problem after another, repairs and cleaning, not getting it done, not getting the grass cut on time. Everything has been a struggle in the last seven months,” Berry said.

Since February, there have been three separate waves of eviction notices. The exact number of eviction notices is unknown. However, attorneys working with residents of 250 Frederick believe the number is higher than 50.

Heather Berry was fired on the Friday before the long weekend.

“I got to the point where it wasn’t so much a matter of if I was going to get an eviction notice, but when. Because they’re not going to be nice,” Berry said.

While some people have left, Berry says most are willing to fight for their homes.

“We’re going to fight it. We have Zoom meetings. We’ve built some really nice friendships through this. We talk in the laundry room. We talk in the elevator. We’re all on the same page,” Berry said.

Building permits issued

According to the City of Kitchener, the building department has applied for three building permits since last October, but only one has been accepted.

The first two permits were withdrawn because no building permit was required for the proposed work.

The first application concerned the modification of a non-load-bearing wall in the kitchen. No building permit is required for this.

250 Frederick St. in Kitchener, Ontario (Jeff Pickel/CTV Kitchener)

In the second application, owners requested a permit to replace plumbing fixtures, including the installation of dishwashers for 84 apartments. Again, no building permit is required.

In a third application, owners applied for a building permit to replace the water pipes on the third through fifteenth floors. This permit was granted.

An N13 eviction notice served on one of the tenants states that the reason for terminating the lease is “to perform repairs or renovations that are so extensive that I require a building permit and the rental unit must be vacant for that work.”

We reached out to representatives at 250 Frederick Street but have not received a response.