Blaze Guts 3-Storey Vancouver Heritage Building

Blaze Guts 3-Storey Vancouver Heritage Building
Posted by CN Staff on April 26, 2004 at 07:56:50 PT
By Jane Armstrong
Source: Globe and Mail 
Vancouver -- A historic stretch of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside was shrouded in smoke yesterday as fire raced through a turn-of-the-century storefront heritage building. Billowing black smoke could be seen across the city, and crowds gathered in a park across the street to watch fire crews battle the blaze that began just after dawn.The fire destroyed the Blunt Brothers café, a second-hand clothing store and a bookstore, all on the main floor of the three-storey structure. There were no injuries.
A Vancouver Fire Department spokesman said a marijuana-growing operation might also have been in the building, located on a stretch of Hastings Street just east of the touristy Gastown district.The destroyed building is next to the headquarters of the B.C. Marijuana Party and the Amsterdam Café, known for its lax policy on customers smoking pot.Artist Ken Gerberick, whose studio was on the second floor, raced to the building with his girlfriend after his son called to say the building was ablaze.Mr. Gerberick, 60, estimated that up to 200 pieces of work were in his studio. "I've lost a lifetime of art," Mr. Gerberick said as he clutched his partner, Janice Corrado, and watched the flames shoot from the windows. "I'm pretty upset."The artist, who constructs installations from pieces of junk, said the building was erected in 1890. It had tall ceilings and large windows, but was falling into disrepair. He was not surprised that the fire had spread so quickly.Mr. Gerberick said he had no insurance, but his lost work could not be replaced anyway.A Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services spokesman said the fire began in three dumpsters in a lane behind the building, but quickly jumped to the structure. Arson has not been ruled out.By the time firefighters arrived, the building was ablaze. Police blocked off Hastings Street for much of the day as more than 50 firefighters tried to control the blaze. The adjoining property was damaged by smoke and water, fire department spokesman Rob Jones-Cook said . Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)Author: Jane ArmstrongPublished: Monday, April 26, 2004 - Page A5 Copyright: 2004 The Globe and Mail CompanyContact: letters globeandmail.caWebsite: Brothers Marijuana Party -- Canadian Archives
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on April 26, 2004 at 15:06:02 PT
News Article from The Canadian Press
New Legislation Would Give Police Powers To Do Roadside Drug TestsMonday, April 26, 2004Ottawa -- The federal government introduced legislation Monday to help police catch drug-impaired drivers. Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said police need the authority to demand physical tests and bodily fluid samples so they can detect and deter drivers impaired by non-alcoholic drugs. The proposed reform is part of the government's plan to strengthen drug laws while it decriminalizes possession of small amounts of marijuana. Under that plan, anyone caught with less than 15 grams of pot would face a fine instead of a criminal charge, but penalties against marijuana grow operations would increase. Drug-impaired driving is already an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment when it causes the death of another person.Monday's bill would allow police to conduct roadside attention tests and demand saliva, urine or blood samples if drivers fail. Refusal to comply with a demand would be a criminal offence. Lawyers say the proposals give police too much power and will spawn Charter of Rights court challenges. Cotler countered that the bill provides the same powers allowed for alcohol tests, and has been Charter tested to withstand legal attacks. Drug users are disproportionately involved in fatal accidents, he added. Copyright: 2004 The Canadian Press
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on April 26, 2004 at 14:21:34 PT
Thanks Marc
I must have missed that one. I know that many things can be exclusions with insurance. One company wouldn't insure us if we owned a Rottweiler. It didn't matter if the dog was kenneled or the yard was fenced either. 
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Comment #8 posted by Marc Paquette on April 26, 2004 at 14:04:41 PT:
Marc Emery could not insure his commerce
Hi FoM and Friends;I also read in a CCC comment that was sent to Tim Meehan and transmitted by Marc Emery that Marc's businesses could not be insured because "marijuana" seeds are in the grey area of the law (legal if not sprouted) and marijuana itself is still not legal in Canada. Of course, absolutely NO insurance company can insure such an activity that's not within ANY insurance company contract clauses. This is why Marc couldn't have any insurance.Peace,Marc 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on April 26, 2004 at 10:05:46 PT
Another Comment
I just read in the CCC List that a CTV article says there was a grow. That might make this whole thing complicated.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 26, 2004 at 09:07:05 PT
We have content insurance on our house and it isn't really expensive. Years ago we had content insurance on our business. We didn't at first until we were robbed and then bought some. Believe it or not we were robbed three months later and they did help replace what was taken but they don't replace money taken. 
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Comment #5 posted by Ron Bennett on April 26, 2004 at 09:00:49 PT
Renter's Insurance is a Few Hundred $ per year
Yes, a few hundred dollars per year is difficult for one on a very limited income, but certainly not insurmountable...especially given the alternative of one having to pay out-of-pocket to replace everything should the unthinkable happen; more likely than many folks realize.With that said, the businesses affected by the fire should definitely have had insurance - that's a relatively small cost of doing business compared to payroll, inventory, taxes, etc...Ron
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 26, 2004 at 08:50:43 PT
Three dumpsters? I didn't notice that in the article until your post. That is suspicious. Aren't dumpsters set a little away from each other for safety sake? 
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on April 26, 2004 at 08:44:35 PT
One Dumpster = Possible Accident
Three dumpsters = high likelihood of arson.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 26, 2004 at 08:27:38 PT
I know that most people that rent don't have renters insurance at least down here. Content insurance is very expensive. I hope they find out what caused the fires. 
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Comment #1 posted by Ron Bennett on April 26, 2004 at 08:18:37 PT
No Insurance...
So far from all the articles, posts, etc I've read, it appears none of the notable tenants effected had insurance. Some claim they couldn't get it, but I tend to believe they simply wanted to save a few and learn I guess...though that's an expensive way to learn :(I mention insurance since I bet the only people who had it were the owner(s) of the buildings effected. If it turns out to be arson, that's an angle that I'm sure will be looked into given the buildings had reportedly falling into some disrepair.Another possibility, beyond simple vandals, is that there was a feud of some sort going on...political and/or perhaps having to do with cannabis/seeds sales?Guess it's pointless to speculate further for it doesn't change much now...hope it all works out in the end.Ron
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