Toronto Police have made an arrest in connection with the widespread sale of unapproved Tandoori ovens and stock pot burners that pose a significant public safety concern.
The appliances were manufactured, distributed and, in some instances, installed by Kitchen Queen, also known as Kitchen Queen Superstore, based in Toronto.
It’s believed these ovens were sold to restaurant owners, caterers and commercial kitchen operators who are unaware they may be unsafe because of forged Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certification stickers on the appliances.
At a news conference at police headquarters on November 26, Detective Rob Whalen, of 55 Division, said police were contacted by the Technical Standards Safety Authority (TSAA) and the CSA, who were alerted that the accused might be selling gas model clay ovens that don’t comply with Canadian safety standards.
“These appliances are fire hazards with the possibility of explosions as they are hooked up to natural gas,” said Whalen, the lead investigator and the Service’s counterfeit expert. “Project Borderline, which operates out of 54 and 55 Divisions and the Transit Unit, conducted a search warrant at three stores.”
Police recovered three full-size ovens and 15-20 small burner units without proper certification.
As a result of the warrant, Gautam Mashetty – the owner of the Kitchen Queen stores at 3001 Markham Rd. and 1415 Gerrard St. E. – was charged with possession of property obtained by crime and possession of wares. He will make a court appearance in January.
Of the nearly 300 appliances that police say were imported, they have recovered about 100.
Many were recovered on a truck while police were executing the search warrant
“We are going through documents seized from the search warrants to try to locate the other 200,” said Whalen. “There are not a lot of suppliers of these ovens. We hope that word-of-mouth through the restaurant industry and tips will lead us to their recovery.”
Acting Staff Superintendent Bryce Evans said the ovens were bought in from India and assembled in Canada.
“He would then allegedly sell them to the unsuspecting owners with counterfeit CSA certificates,” Evans, in charge of Detective Operations, pointed out. “The safety concerns identified through the examination have the potential to cause fires and/or explosions which would lead to serious bodily harm and even death to the owners, their employers, customers and family members.”
Police are advising anyone who has bought stoves from Kitchen Queen to stop using them immediately and contact their fuel distributor and the TSSA which is the province’s safety regulator for fuels.
“The urgency of safety is paramount to us,” said John Marshall, the TSSA fuels safety director.
Anyone who has purchased or have fuel-fired kitchen equipment – natural gas or propane – from Kitchen Queen are being told to immediately stop using the equipment and contact their fuel distributor, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, Ontario’s provincial safety regulator, as well as Toronto Police investigators.
Enbridge Gas can be reached at 1-866-763-5427, Union Gas can be reached at 1-877-969-0999 and TSSA can be reached at 1-877-682-8772.
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and (416) 808-7298.