Pandora Street Coroner's inquest moved up to October 24th

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


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 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.

- post by Daniel. Follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus


Dear fellow blog commenter"s,

Some time ago I put out a request to everyone to send an email to Shirley Bond requesting that that she speak to the coroner's office, so this inquest date be moved up ....thank you everyone for your efforts, it seems as if we were heard.

Thank you to Suzanne Anton for taking a stand in Council. I must admit I will never forget the look on Suzanne Anton's face when she was not allowed to finish reading Mrs. Yellowquill's letter to Council. I felt it very disrespectful of Council to the Mother of one of these men, the least we could have done was listen to a grieving Mother.

Perhaps now justice will be served for these men and their families,and the system that is broken will be repaired...

They keep stating it was a faulty extension cord.

After reading about the condition of the place as a whole, I wouldn't be surprised if it was old and compromised wiring.

Were any charges or law suits ever brought against the owner?

I am glad that the families and friends may find some peace once this hearing is over.


"They keep stating it was a faulty extension cord."

If I remember correctly, after reading the inspection reports, there was concern for the electrical boxes, well before the begs the question.

What come first "the chicken or the egg"
Did the faulty electrical boxes blow the extension cord?

I'm in an older building and have had issues with electical outlets throught the last couple of years. I've had to have rewiring done.

If it was just a faulty cord, would it not trigger a breaker to switch off?

On another note George - and again sorry for hijacking this thread - I have a bunch of men's clothes, all in excellent shape, that I am looking to rehome. They were my brothers. 33-34 waist, men's medium. Suggestions would be appreciated.


Sorry for PSA..

this is the alternative to woman's Dress for Success... they offer support as well as interview clothes... hand up not hand out... I like that!

Thanks George!

Will sort through and deliver.

A faulty cord will not cause a breaker to turn off automatically.
If the cord causes a spark and it ignites combustibles (i.e paper, etc) no breaker will go off. It's too late.
The fire is already going.

Flop house, fire hazards have been around for many.many years.

A breaker turns off when it is overloaded.

An extension cord with many.many things plugged into it will not trigger a breaker to go off unless all the appliances plugged in are turned on at about the same time.

The real issue is:

Way too many people in a house that was not able to handle the electrical,plumbing etc, requirements.

A single family home with way,way too many people.

Very common in Vancouver, and not just in the last few years.

I blame all the political parties for years.
No enforcing of by-laws.

Check out Kitsilano in the 1970's!

The real issue is that there are a hundred of these houses east of Main Street that are in worse shape. The real issue is the choice the politicans must make: throw families including infants out onto the street because slumlords do not provide up to code housing. I do not think so. The real issue is that previous City Councils are all well aware of the problem and chose to keep families under roofs.
This whole issue is about making political hay out of the deaths of three unfortunate men. Disgusting.
An inquest will tell us the truth. Many people do not want to know the truth.

I agree with you City Holler.

The SRO's in the DTES were a death trap at one point as well, and when the City and Fire Department moved into to fix things, the advocates were up in arms becuause people had to be moved out of the buildings.

There are way too many of these unkept, often offshore owned houses operating. It is time for the City to use the bylaws in place or create other bylaws that stop this negligence. Start fining these slumlords as soon as they miss the fist deadline. And if they don't move to get things done, go to court immediately and do what is necessary to protect the tenants. And if they still don't comply, sieze the property.

You know what I love, in a strata situation, if you miss 3 of your strata fee payments, the strata can place a lien against your place and ultimately force the sale inorder to re-coup their losses.

Why can't this type of action be taken against these slumlords once they are on record?

No more free rides.

If someone is responsible for slum houses and slum lords, it's
We have all not paid attention and demanded change.
It's time to do so now.
Who is Ken Lawson?
Jail terms?
We can't even get someone who shoots someone jailed for 5 years.
Negligent landlords won't be in the same category.
We have had slum homes for Years, and Years, and Years.
I remember moving into a run down house (1972) that was filled with cock roaches and rats.

Raise the bar and have standards.
In Switzerland fines are placed on any landlord who does not have a well kept home.
Large fines and collected fines.

Let's face it Chris;

'Laws' support criminals and not the victims (after all, like we now teach in school, it is not the grades at the end of the day, who cares if they faul, it is all about how they feel about hard feelings)

I write this after reading that Tracy Caza ia AGAIN out on release.

This man is 50 years old and I would like to know how many millions he has cost the people, the taxpayers, over the years with insurance costs, lost to dignity, court costs etc.

Personally, I would love to have him handed over to the grandson of the little, now 93 year old woman, he so callously robbed of her wedding rings. I saw her on a news follow-up a while back, in a wheel chair with her one leg amputated at the knee, pleading for her rings to be returned. It hurt my heart. And I thought of my parents.

What type of sick person vicitimizes someone like that and what type of society allows this person to conutine victimzing others. Last time he got out, he robbed another elderly person -you see, that is his 'thing'.

Welcome to Canada and our bleeding heart society that coddles thugs under the guise of addiction.

So, with people like this, they should have a choice - a very long prisin term (and I am talking more than 6 months that the courst dole out) or addiction therapy - at least two years.

It is about time we start solving problems rather than pandering to them.

Caza victimized seniors in the neighbourhood I live in.
People in their 90's who couldn't identify him positively by the photos they were shown.

Same scenario as everything I've read in the paper.

Totally unrepentant.

I must share this with you all...

I have just received an email from the Coroners Office, advising me that indeed the date for the inquest for Pandora Street fire has been moved ahead...the email was in response to my email to Shirley Bond

....thank you, thank you, thank you...

It starts with one voice...and I just learned I have one!!


Congratulations! Very well done!

And hey, great to know that Minister Bond is paying attention...

Check out!

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