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Two bodies found in rubble of Vancouver SRO hotel ravaged in fire

Winters Hotel in Gastown was being demolished this week
demolition-winters-hotel-franke-james
Vancouver Fire Rescue Services announced Friday that two bodies have been discovered in the Winters Hotel, which caught fire April 11 and was being demolished this week.

Two bodies have now been found in the rubble of the single-room-occupancy Winters Hotel in Gastown that was ravaged by fire April 11.

Vancouver Fire Rescue Services announced the first discovery Friday afternoon via a news release, and the second in the evening.

“Through the process, investigators and the demolition crew have been mindful individuals may be in the building, and have been proceeding with appropriate precaution and care,” the release said.

“Typically in a fire, firefighters conduct a primary and secondary search for occupants. Given the 203 Abbott St. fire was a defensive attack, firefighters performed a primary search, exited the building and fought the fire from outside.”

The fire department said the fire was too extensive and the situation deemed too dangerous to allow firefighters into areas on the second floor of the building — where the fire originated —which meant an “all clear” was not determined.

Fire accidental

The Vancouver Police Department is investigating along with the BC Coroners Service.

"Building demolition has paused for the weekend and will resume on Monday. Electrical power will be restored to the neighbourhood through the weekend. Security fencing and security staff will remain in place throughout the weekend," indicates the VFRS in its second release.

The fire department announced Thursday that the blaze was determined to be accidental and caused by unattended candles.

The 1907 four-storey building was found to be structurally unsound and ordered demolished by the city’s chief building official the day after the fire.

Demolition of the building began Thursday.

Janice Abbott, the CEO of Atira Property Management, told Vancouver Is Awesome earlier this week that all 71 tenants of the Winters had been accounted for and secured housing. Atira managed the building, which is owned by Peter Plett.

Firefighters rescued six people from the burning building, which also contained seven businesses on the ground floor.

mhowell@glaciermedia.ca

@Howellings