Arnprior tenants ordered to take down Christmas wreaths
Tenants who live in a low-income apartment complex in Arnprior are being ordered to remove Christmas wreaths from outside their apartment units because the decorations are considered fire hazards.
The Renfrew County Housing Corporation ordered tenants to clear off anything hanging on their doors because of fire safety -- no exceptions.
"I really don't agree with them. It'd be nice to have something to show that there's some Christmas around this place," said tenant Jan Sears.
"My grandchildren made my Christmas wreath when they were only little. And I love it, and I like to show it off."
The Arnprior Fire Department enforced the rule at several buildings in the area last year to de-clutter common hallways of fire hazards.
The Renfrew County Housing Corporation has since taken a zero-tolerance approach because vandals have lit wreaths on fire in the past.
"We had five fires last year. It's as simple as that, due to people lighting decorations on fire. We tried everything. This is our last resort," said David Anderson, director of social services for the Renfrew County Housing Corporation.
"Nobody got hurt, but there was a considerable amount of damage."
But other fires in the city involving wreaths have been fatal. A blaze last Christmas Eve claimed the lives of two women in an apartment unit on Playfair Road. Investigators determined the blaze began after Christmas decorations hanging on doors were set on fire.
Still, some tenants say forcing residents to take down their wreaths makes the building void of the Christmas spirit.
"It's so cheerful to see them all . . . It's totally naked now, it's like living in a cellblock, just grey everywhere; not a single decoration in sight," said tenant Carole Grenier.
Grenier anticipated the crackdown, and made a metal wreath for her door. But even that needs to be taken down.
"I made a fireproof wreath that's totally safe. Can't hurt anyone," Grenier told CTV Ottawa.
"It's been a tradition every year for people to have a wreath. The tradition is gone now."
With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua