Province finally looking into operator at centre of fatal illegal group home fire
Nearly three weeks after a fatal fire tore through an illegal group home on Oxford Street, Ontario's Public Guardian and Trustee is looking into its operator, Keith Charles.
A CTV News investigation has revealed that Charles and his organization, People Helping People, were running several illegal group homes for individuals living with mental health issues.
All of them had fire code violations.
Most of Charles' tenants are clients of the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT), which means they're incapable of managing their own affairs and count on the OPGT to handle their living and financial affairs.
Despite what some guardians saw on visits to their clients, warnings by family members of Charles' residents and a fatal fire, the office didn't look into Charles or his group and continued to issue them cheques.
But that's changing.
David McPherson died as a result of the Nov. 3 fire at an illegal group home on Oxford Street East.
Although the cause of fire is still under investigation, fire inspectors were so concerned about the living conditions that it was about to seek an 'Order to Close' the building when the fire call came in.
Since then, London Fire officials have inspected all of Charles' group homes uncovered by CTV News.
What inspectors found compelled them to issue an 'Immediate Threat to Life' order and remove at least one tenant from the home.
Through all of this, the OPGT has remained relatively silent, but that changed Thursday.
It finally reached out to enforcement agencies, asking for background on Charles' long list of violations.
CTV asked officials in the Attorney General's office if this signaled a new procedure and if this meant the OPGT would actually look into proposed homes before giving its approval, but the minister's office has not yet responded.