Fu Ren declined to comment outside the Vancouver courthouse. Inside, he and his wife Feng Yan pleaded guilty to six of 20 fire code violations they were facing related to the building.
Vancouver apartment residents question safety of building after fire
The fire broke out at the building at East 10th Avenue and Prince Edwards Street on the evening of July 27, leaving more than 70 people without a roof over their heads.
Several tenants told Global News at the time that they had concerns about the building’s fire safety, and that eight months before the fire the City of Vancouver had cited 20 safety violations to the landlord.
Those violations, for which the couple were in court Monday, include failure to maintain sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers, and allowing fire hazards such as exposed wires and combustible materials.
Ren, who was representing himself, spoke through an interpreter and told the court he hadn’t been properly notified of the specific code violations, and that he hadn’t been allowed to participate in the fire inspections.
Dozens of residents homeless after East Vancouver apartment fire
“I had made many requests to the fire department so when they come to tell me the time of inspections and we can identify the problems together but they never honoured my requests,” he told the court.
Proceedings were also drawn out through the plea-entering process, as Fen sought to argue each count.
That process saw court time expire before Crown had the opportunity to begin making its case and proceedings were adjourned for the day.
A new court date has not been scheduled.
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