Three men tragically died at this house on Pandora Street last December
In a decision that seemed impossible mere weeks ago, the B.C. Coroner's office has moved the inquest into the tragic fire on Pandora Street that took three lives to October 24th.
After a number of posts on this blog, dozens of tweets and several freedom of information requests, CKNW News broke the news last night that the public would learn all the details regarding what led to this fire – before the civic election.
Kudos to the BC Coroner’s office for making the right decision and reducing the delay for families and friends of the victims.
It’s been over four months since three men died tragically in a house fire on Pandora Street in Vancouver’s eastside. A number of legitimate questions have been raised regarding whether or not the City of Vancouver did enough to prevent the tragedy. Several City inspectors had visited the property and it was supposed to be shut down due to a number of by-law infractions.
If you accepted the responses of Deputy City Manager Sadhu Johnson or Vision Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang, who both spoke out publicly within 24 hours of the fire, the City did everything within its power to prevent the blaze and action on the property was "imminent." I wouldn't be surprised if the BC Coroner discovers that it was more than just a faulty extension cord that led to this tragedy.
Not long ago it was revealed the Mayor’s hand-picked City Manager was asked by the BC Coroner if she wanted the inquest before or after the upcoming November civic election. Not surprisingly Penny Ballem chose the latter date. This helped to guarantee her political bosses wouldn’t have to deal with messy details coming out of an inquest during a civic election campaign.
This is the kind of shameful politicization that is now commonplace in Vision City Hall.
Ballem’s decision led Suzanne Anton, the NPA’s lone opposition councillor to put a motion before council asking that the Coroner reconsider the advice given from the City Manager. The Vision council, probably feeling cornered on this controversial matter, decided to approve Anton’s motion to ask the Coroner to select an earlier date.
You can expect people like Carlene Robbins, who acted as Chief License Inspector before she was removed from her post, will be a star witness at the inquiry. Robbins was a senior employee with 35 years of experience and is now suing the City of Vancouver over her wrongful dismissal. In her file of claim in BC Supreme Court, Robbins references the Pandora Street fire.
In addition, a number of people who were in and out of that home in the months leading up to the tragedy will also be called to testify. The inquest is open to the public and media, thus ensuring we should know if the City of Vancouver could have done more to prevent this tragedy.
I’ll have more to say on the inquest in the weeks ahead, but this morning I’m just thrilled that our work here at CityCaucus.com and the efforts of local community residents has not been in vain. The BC Coroner did the right thing by announcing the date has been moved up and they deserve our credit for taking the politics out of this tragic issue.
Here's a list of our posts on Pandora Street, along with revealing audio and video interview footage of Sadhu Johnson, Penny Ballem, Kerry Jang, Dave McLellan and even Gregor Robertson despite his attempts to dodge the matter.
- Fatal east side fire raises questions on City enforcement
- Pastor joins call for independent inquiry of Pandora Street deaths
- Pandora Street tragedy deserves independent review
- Where's the Mayor in the Pandora flophouse fire deaths matter?
- Community voice to be heard regarding Pandora Street tragedy
- Senior staffer takes fall for Pandora fire, City claims Robbins "quit"
- Robbins departure: was she pushed or did she jump?
- Mayor Gregor won't answer questions on Carlene Robbins dismissal
- Silence of the City Hall disgruntled: will Robbins' voice be heard?
- Gregor Robertson: The Coroner made us do it
- Anton gets unanimous council support to move up Pandora inquest
- Missing report on Pandora Street report raises more questions
- post by Daniel. Follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus