RCMP believe the fire was a result of arson, and have started an investigation.
This was launched in tandem with a criminal negligence investigation, in response to witness reports that fire alarms did not sound.
An initial inspection took place on February 21st, where several concerns were brought to the attention of the business owner, TJ Khatrao, who also owns the North Star Inn & Suites.
During the February 21st inspection, concerns were raised about the fire alarm system with a notation explaining the alarms must be tested and tagged annually.
Similar concerns were noted about portable extinguishers, emergency lighting, and the building’s fire safety plan.
“I can say that the BC Building Code and the City’s Fire Bylaw require regular testing of fire alarm systems, and so we inspect buildings – public buildings and hotels – based on that requirement,” said Prince George Fire Department Deputy Chief Paul Knudsgaard.
“When a fire inspection is conducted, part of the inspection includes confirming documentation is attached to fire safety systems to confirm they were serviced,” added Knudsgaard.
Khatrao, the owner of the building, confirmed to MyPGNow that Allpoints Fire Protection Ltd. serviced the safety equipment but he declined to comment further.
The subsequent report on July 6th found everything to be in working order.
“All items from the Feb 21 inspection checked and found to be in good order,” the report reads. “No violation or areas of concern noted.”
Corporal Craig Douglass with the Prince George RCMP said police are aware of the inspection report.
“We haven’t determined anything yet. Any fire reports will be a part of our investigations,” remarked Douglass.
MyPGNow reached out to the City of Prince George for comment but has not received a response as of this publication.
Several investigations involving the Prince George Fire Department, RCMP’s Serious Crimes Unit, and BC Coroner’s service remain ongoing.
– With files from Justin Madu, Brendan Pawliw, Hartley Miller and Wendy Gray.