Solicitor Common Mike Farnworth calls inquest into Gastown lodge hearth deaths

The BC Ministry of Public Security has referred to as a coroner’s inquest into the deaths of two individuals in a Gastown lodge hearth final April.

The April 11 hearth on the now-demolished Winters Lodge (203 Abbott Road) took the lives of Mary Garlow, 68, and Dennis Guay, 53.

“We’re deeply saddened by this horrible lack of life,” Minister and Solicitor Common Mike Farnworth stated in a July 21 launch. “My ideas are with Mary Ann Garlow’s and Dennis Guay’s family members, and with the opposite former residents of the lodge. I additionally acknowledge and thank the front-line workers and first responders who’ve supported everybody affected by the hearth.

“Right now, I’ve directed a coroner’s inquest into these deaths,” Farnworth continued. “As soon as the coroner’s investigation has gathered adequate proof, an inquest jury will hear proof from witnesses below oath and make findings relating to the info of the deaths.

No date was set for the inquest. Seventy-one SRO residents have been pressured to search out new properties when the 115-year-old construction went up in flames after candles have been left unattended in a second-floor room.

Hearth victims Dennis Guay (left) and Mary Garlow.

“The jury might also make suggestions at stopping deaths below related circumstances,” Farnworth stated. “Our authorities is dedicated to maintaining individuals protected and serving to stop households from shedding family members to fires. In June, we introduced we’re partnering with Statistics Canada to create a Group Hearth Danger Discount Dashboard to assist BC hearth providers stop fires, cut back accidents, and save lives.

Farnworth stated suggestions from the inquest might assist stop future fires in SRO accommodations or buildings that home susceptible populations.

Minister of Public Security and Solicitor Common Mike Farnworth

“Everybody deserves to be protected of their properties,” Farnworth stated. “Suggestions from the inquest into the Winters Lodge deaths might assist stop fires in single-room occupancy buildings and save lives.

“Because the variety of fire-related deaths will increase in British Columbia,” he continued, “it’s crucial that we take motion to make sure susceptible persons are shielded from hearth hazards.”