Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, has released the following statement on directing an inquest into two deaths linked to the Winters Hotel fire:
“The fire that destroyed the Winters Hotel in Vancouver on April 11, 2022, tragically resulted in the death of two people.
“We are deeply saddened by this terrible loss of life. My thoughts are with Mary Ann Garlow's and Dennis Guay’s loved ones, and with the other former residents of the hotel. I also recognize and thank the front-line staff and first responders who have supported everyone affected by the fire.
“Today, I have directed a coroner’s inquest into these 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.
“Our government is committed to keeping people safe and helping prevent families from losing loved ones to fires. In June, we announced we are partnering with Statistics Canada to create a Community Fire Risk Reduction Dashboard to help B.C. fire services prevent fires, reduce injuries and save lives.
“Everyone deserves to be safe in their homes. Recommendations from the inquest into the Winters Hotel deaths could help prevent fires in single-room occupancy buildings and save lives.
“As the number of fire-related deaths increases in British Columbia, it is imperative that we take action to ensure vulnerable people are protected from fire hazards.”