British Columbia

Hotel resident files class-action lawsuit over deadly Econo Lodge fire in Prince George

Leonard Hay is asking B.C. Supreme Court to recover damages for wrongful death, personal injury, loss of property and economic losses on his own behalf and of other registered guests due to the July fire that killed three people.

Civil suit seeks damages for loss of life and property in July blaze that killed 3

Flames erupt from the Econo Lodge motel in downtown Prince George, B.C. on July 8. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

A civil class-action lawsuit has been filed in the B.C. Supreme Court, seeking damages for a deadly Prince George, B.C., hotel blaze this summer.

In a court document, Leonard Hay states he was a guest at the downtown Econo Lodge in the central B.C. city, paying $1,200 a month to rent a room. 

At 8:30 a.m. on July 8, he says he heard screams from the room next door, spotted flames outside and ran to safety after windows exploded.   

He claims he heard no fire alarms and did not see any staff guiding guests to safety. 

Hay says he suffered serious physical injuries including second- and third-degree burns, psychological distress and lost all of his possessions in the fire.

As plaintiff in the class-action case, Hay is asking the court to recover damages for wrongful death, personal injury, loss of property and economic losses on his own behalf and of other registered guests.

He accuses the defendants of negligence in the case. They include Prince George-based Mundi 910 Victoria Enterprises Ltd., Vancouver-based Choice Hotels, Aztech Fire Safety Planning and Consulting (2015) Ltd,  All Points Fire Protection Ltd. and the City of Prince George. 

Defendants have not yet filed a response to the claims, which have yet to be tested in a court of law. 

RCMP say deadly fire was arson

Three bodies were found in the charred remains of the two-storey hotel. Neither police nor the BC Coroners Service are sharing information about the identities of the deceased, citing privacy.

After an investigation, Prince George RCMP determined the fire was deliberately set. One person was arrested and released, pending further investigation.  No charges have been filed.

Motel guests who narrowly escaped the fire told CBC News at the scene they didn't hear any fire alarms or smoke detectors.

Prince George Mayor Mayor Lyn Hall says there were no previous concerns about Econo Lodge and that it recently had some upgrades.

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