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Gastown SRO blaze: Vancouver fire investigators determine likely cause

They believe it was accidental

The likely cause of the massive four-alarm fire on April 11 that destroyed the Winters Hotel, an SRO in Gastown, has been determined.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) investigators believe unattended candles in a second-floor unit are to blame, thereby making the fire accidental and not the result of arson. 

The VFRS also note in an April 21 news release that firefighters helped deal with a fire on April 8 in the same building.

"At that time, fire crews shut off the sprinklers and issued a Notice of Violation to have the fire life safety systems to be serviced," states the release. "This notice requires a fire watch be put in place until the fire life safety system is back in operations. The notice of violation is a standard process when a sprinkler is activated."

They also state the fire was first detected by staff conducting a fire watch.

"They attempted to extinguish the fire but were unsuccessful in their efforts. They quickly transitioned to alerting the occupants in the building," states the VFRS.

The building is due to be demolished by the end of the week. More than 140 people are without homes after the fire, as are multiple businesses.