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Landlord fined $4,500 over fire that destroyed East Vancouver apartment building

Click to play video: 'Owner of burned Mount Pleasant building fined for fire code violations'
Owner of burned Mount Pleasant building fined for fire code violations
WATCH: The owner of a Vancouver apartment building badly damaged by fire last summer has been fined for a string of fire code violations. Travis Prasad reports. – Feb 9, 2024

The owner of an East Vancouver apartment building badly damaged by a fire last summer has been fined $4,500 for numerous fire code violations.

Flames broke out at the building at East 10th Avenue and Prince Edwards Street on July 27, 2023. The damage left 30 people homeless.

In November, owner Fu Ren pleaded guilty to six of 20 code violations of which he was accused. Alleged violations included failing to maintain the sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers and allowing fire hazards such as exposed wires.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver apartment residents question safety of building after fire'
Vancouver apartment residents question safety of building after fire

Ren represented himself in court, and argued the fire department hadn’t followed proper procedures.

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The citations stemmed from a November 2022 inspection of the Mount Pleasant rental.

The additional 14 charges, along with several charges against his wife Feng Yan, were stayed.

The judge agreed to the City of Vancouver’s submission asking for the $4,500 fine, saying there was “no concern” for the tenants and adding he would have been “more than pleased” with a joint submission seeking fines of $5,000 to $10,000 per violation.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver landlord appears in court charged with 20 fire code violations after building burned down'
Vancouver landlord appears in court charged with 20 fire code violations after building burned down

Investigators believe the July fire was accidental, and started by a candle.

Ren and his wife still face additional charges for allegedly violating city bylaws after the fire, including failing to immediately board up and secure the burned-out building.

The court has heard that squatters have since moved in and that at least three additional fires have happened there since.

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The couple have pleaded not guilty and are due back in court this spring.

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