Skip to content

BC Coroner to investigate 2 deaths after fire at Vancouver SRO

April 11 blaze at Winters Hotel raised questions around safety standards in low-income housing
Debris falls to the ground as demolition continues on the Winters Hotel in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 22, 2022. Two people died in the April 11 blaze. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The BC Coroners Service has been asked to investigate the deaths of two people who died inside a Vancouver single-room occupancy (SRO) building last spring when it burned to the ground.

The bodies of Mary Garlow, 68, and Dennis Guay, 53, were found in the rubble of the Winters Hotel in Vancouver’s Gastown neighborhood in the week following the April 11 fire.

The cause of the devastating blaze was ultimately attributed to candles that had been left burning, but numerous former residents of the building raised questions around whether the sprinkler system had been working and if extinguishers had been full.

The City of Vancouver has received criticism in the weeks and months since to as the safety standards in SROs and protections for more vulnerable, lower-income residents.

On Thursday (July 21), Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced he has asked the BC Coroners Service to investigate the deaths.

“Once the coroner’s investigation has gathered sufficient evidence, an inquest jury will hear evidence from witnesses under oath and make findings regarding the facts of the deaths. The jury may also make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances,” he said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Second body found during demolition of burned Vancouver hotel

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Vancouver fire guts historic Gastown building, sends five to hospital


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
Read more