Explosion in hotel on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside leaves 1 dead, 2 injured

·1 min read
The Empress Hotel at the intersection of Hastings and Main Street in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside saw an explosion early Saturday morning which left 1 person dead and 2 injured. (Google Maps - image credit)
The Empress Hotel at the intersection of Hastings and Main Street in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside saw an explosion early Saturday morning which left 1 person dead and 2 injured. (Google Maps - image credit)

An explosion on the second floor of a single-room occupancy (SRO) hotel in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has left one person dead and two injured, according to firefighters.

Officials say it happened at the Empress Hotel, at the intersection of Hastings and Main Street in the heart of the neighbourhood, just after 7 a.m. Saturday.

Acting assistant fire chief Walter Pereira told CBC News the explosion was likely due to a battery that was being overcharged in one of the suites in the SRO building.

"[Crews] found one person from the suite in the alley, unresponsive," he said.

"From subsequent questioning of the girlfriend of the person, it was ... unfortunate circumstances," he added. "The person was apparently by the window, where he got either pushed or fell out of the window and fell to his death from the second floor."

Two people were injured from the explosion, but the fire was contained to the suite and firefighters were able to extinguish it, Pereira said.

Roads around Main and Hastings were temporarily closed as firefighters responded to the explosion, but were reopened shortly thereafter.

Investigators and structural engineers will be at the site on Saturday to determine if the hotel is safe for residents going forward.

The fire comes just over a month after a fire at the nearby Winters Hotel in Gastown gutted the establishment and left two people dead.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting