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Two bodies found during demolition of fire-ravaged building in Vancouver's Gastown

VANCOUVER — Two bodies have been found in the ruins of the Winters Hotel in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood.
Demolition continues on the Winters Hotel after a body was found in the single room occupancy (SRO) building, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 22, 2022. The building was deemed structurally unsafe after a fire destroyed it last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER — Two bodies have been found in the ruins of the Winters Hotel in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services announced earlier Friday afternoon that a body was located during the demolition of the low-income hotel.

They say a second body has since been found.

In the days after the April 11 fire, the property manager had said it was believed all residents had escaped.

The statement from the fire department, which does not identify the victims, says the demolition of the building has been paused until Monday.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services says the blaze was accidental and started on the second floor of the building by unattended candles.

Five people were also hurt in the blaze, including one who the fire chief said jumped from an upper-floor window to escape.

The department said that when crews first arrived on the scene, it was too dangerous to allow them where the blaze originated, so it could not be determined if the hotel was empty.

"Typically in a fire, firefighters conduct a primary and secondary search for occupants," the release said.

"Given the 203 Abbott St. fire was a defensive attack, firefighters performed a primary search, exited the building and fought the fire from outside."

BC Housing said this week that permanent homes had been found for all 70 residents displaced by the fire.

Tenants began moving into the Tawow building this week and B.C. Housing said their rents would not change.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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