Fundraiser for worker killed in St. Catharines industrial blaze surpasses goal

Ryan Konkin's family say they are "grateful" for all the support they've gotten via a fundraiser to continue a business dream he and his fiancée had. The 37-year-old Konkin was the man who died in an industrial fire at a St Catharines business on Jan. 12, 2023.

The sister of Ryan Konkin, the 37-year-old killed in a Jan. 12 industrial blaze in St. Catharines, says her family is “so grateful” for contributions to an online fundraising campaign that will help launch a “life-long dream.”

In a video update just two days after launching the GoFundMe, Nicole Konkin explained the $10,000 was for Ryan’s ambition of operating a food truck in a collaboration with his fiancée.

“I can’t tell you what that means to everybody,” said Konkin.

“What it means … to be able to carry out Ryan’s dream of having this food truck and being able to build up her life. The life that they were planning.”

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As of Thursday afternoon, over $11,000 had been pledged to the native of Yorkton, Sask., who was living in Niagara Region and often fishing, gardening and sharing favourite dishes with family and friends during his free time.

Ryan, also survived by 15-year-old son Vincent, planned a life with his immediate family in a business plan that included the purchase of a specialty coffee truck, according to his sister.

Fiancée Natalia Sepulveda Lastra says she met Ryan at Sunset Beach while on her own relaxing in the water interrupting Konkin’s efforts to through a line in the water to fish.

“Eventually I realized maybe he’s not going to leave, so I decided to get out of the water,” Sepulveda Lastra said.

“As I got closer to him, I just decided to say, it looks like we have the whole beach to ourselves. We sat down and we talked and we just clicked instantly.”

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Konkin died amid a deadly explosion at chemical disposal business, SSonix products, last week.

He sustained significant burns to his body and passed away the following morning in hospital, according to fire investigators.

A candlelight vigil for Konkin is set for 6 p.m. Saturday night at Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie.

Niagara police are calling on residents for help with the investigation seeking video footage of the explosions and fire, seen in a number of social media posts last Thursday.

The fire led to the evacuation of several homes and businesses in the area.

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The cause is still under investigation by Niagara police, the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal, the St. Catharines Fire Service, the Ontario Ministry of Labour and the Office of the Coroner.

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