Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bel-Air apartment fire

A still unsolved arson crime from 1993, that caused two deaths, is in the news.

Made it into the newspapers far away from the Lower Mainland.

Cariboo Observer  3 November 1993 page 5

Fire kills two and destroys apartment
Port Coquitlam - A fierce fire Sunday morning killed two people and destroyed a Port Coquitlam apartment building.
The building was home to over 50 people who are now homeless.
Killed in the fire was Agda Louise Easingwood, 65, who became separated from her husband as they fled the building.
Firefighters later found her collapsed in a hallway.
Firefighters found a second body in the building late Sunday, afternoon, that of a 20 year-old woman. Her name has not been released and both women are believed to have died from smoke inhalation.
The fire started, at about 3 a.m. in the front lobby of the 32-suite Bel-Air Manor at 2191 Tyner St. Fire officials suspect it may have been deliberately set.
"We believe it to be suspicious, but we are cheeking that out at this time," said Port Coquitlam Fire Chief John Baillie, adding the description of the fire suggests an accelerant such as lighter fluid. Bailie said the fire spread quickly through the 80-year old building. "It does not look like there were any fire stops whatsoever. We didn't have a hope in hell of stopping this once it got inside," he said.

And a call by the RCMP for any leads in 2015

Coquitlam RCMP hope for new info on old fire that killed two women
Coquitlam Mounties still seek answers 21 years after fire killed two

And the official call by the local Coquitlam RCMP renew call for witnesses in unsolved homicides from 1993.    File # 1993-43287

After the fire the building was removed and a new building replaced it in 1994, after which  the address was changed  to 2120 Central Avenue, Port Coquitlam. Previously it was 2191 Tyner Street, Port Coquitlam.
The arched doorway in this photo was the lobby,
which faced onto Tyner Street
 Agda Louise Easingwood 
Agda lived on the second floor in #220 with her husband Albert Edward Easingwood
She was born in Barriere, B.C. on the 20th of February 1928, and died on 31st of October 1993, she is buried in the Port Coquitlam Cemetery. ( Death certificate OneTwo )
Memorial at Port Coquitlam cemetery
Her parents were Ernst Waldemar Scmidt (21 March 1896 Streese, Germany – 5 November 1962 ) and
  Agda Elvira Rosen  ( 20 September 1901 Wetaskiwin, Alberta – 20 March 1987 Surrey, B.C. ) They were  married in 1926 at Chinook Cove, B.C.
other siblings of Agda are: Allen Edward Schmidt and Joanne Schmidt, possibly others.

 Valerie Michelle Diner
Valerie was born in North Vancouver, B.C. on the 22nd of November 1972; her parents were John Diner, and Patricia Noreen Pritchard.
( Death certificate: OneTwo )
Valerie worked at one of the local Mohawk gas stations. She lived in apartment #213.   A young life lost.

NOTE: The Bel-Air Apartments contained a warren of halls, totally built from wood, numerous renovations throughout its life; an accident waiting to happen; but in this case an arsonist did the deed, and sadly caused the deaths of two souls.  At the time the rumour was that the owner wanted everyone out.

      This fire reminded me of another fire, totally unrelated, almost across the street from the Bel-Air apartments, that happened 17 years earlier, when a friend, Thomas Regan Chobotor, (New Westminster, B.C. 31 January 1960 to 1 August 1976 ) lost his life to an accidental fire in the family home, ( 2250-2260 Tyner St. ) that was abandoned after the fire and replaced by an industrial building 2 years later.  Leaving his mother Darlene Maddess, step-father Vern Lawrence and brother Rick Chobotor to mourn his loss.
Regan Chobotor is the name he went by, and he is commemorated with a memorial marker in the Port Coquitlam cemetery.

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